The NBA will be partaking in an All-Star Relay at the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
The relay will be started at the Verrazano Bridge by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has run the NYC Marathon twice. Silver ran in 2002, with a time of 3:58:28, and in 2010, he finished at 3:59:44, getting both races in under the four-hour mark.
New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said of Silver, “He’s a marathoner in his own right, having run (here) twice, and I want you to know that the only work we had to do in convincing the NBA that we should do this was Adam saying ‘I want to do the whole thing.'”
The relay will feature 24 NBA and WNBA legends and personalities paired with youth from NYRR’s running programs, in which 200,000 students participate annually. NBA runners will include New York City legends, such as Chris Mullin, who attended Xaverian High School and St. John’s University; Bernard King, who went to Fort Hamilton High School and played for the Knicks; Tiny Archibald, and Darryl Dawkins; WNBA stars Swin Cash and Teresa Edwards; and Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.
NBA Global Ambassador and eight-time All-Star Dikembe Mutombo will cross the finish line in Central Park. Mutombo has New York ties as well, having played for both the Nets and Knicks. Mutombo will run with 15-year-old Jontai Williams, a freshman at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. A basketball fan, Williams has been named an NYRR Youth Running Ambassador since 2010.
The reason for this and other initiatives is that NBA All-Star Weekend is at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden this February. Silver said of the Relay, “It’s for such an important cause, the opportunity for not only the NBA but New York Road Runners to focus attention on fitness and health for young people especially, and particularly the kids of New York City.”
Silver is helping to put basketball clinics in all five boroughs, and he said of that, “Our goal over the course of the season is to directly touch half a million kids throughout New York.”
Silver will team up or this three-mile leg with 14-year-old Lauren Pitaressi, a sophomore at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, who for the past two years has been named NYRR Runner of the Year in her age group. Silver said of Pitaressi, “She’s been training hard, but Mary (Wittenberg) has guaranteed that she has to run at my pace and not vice versa.”
Silver, 52, was part of the track-and-field teams at Rye (NY) High School and Duke University, with his specialty being the 440-yard dash and half mile. He calls himself now a “twice-around-the-reservoir” runner, referring to the popular 1.58-mile loop in Central Park.
At a recent press conference, when asked what NBA players could run a marathon, Silver said Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Sue Bird. On his choices, he said, “I’m mentioning a lot of guards. A lot of them are in tremendous shape.”