EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Plenty of sports teams have given away bobblehead dolls, caps and seat cushions. But the New Jersey Nets are trying to do more for their fans in these hard economic times: Get them jobs.
The Nets announced Wednesday they are providing 1,500 free tickets over the next two months to unemployed fans who submit resumes to the team.
The NBA team plans to send the resumes to its 120 corporate sponsors and a couple hundred firms that own season tickets.
``Our belief right now is let's invest in people who might invest in us later,'' Nets chief executive Brett Yormark said in a telephone interview. ``In doing so, we can help people who need it most.''
Nets spokesman Barry Baum said Wednesday night that the team had received about 1,000 resumes.
Yormark said the Nets, however, are not guaranteeing jobs for anyone.
'' Yormark said. ``They have not given us any commitment. Hopefully, if they see a talented person they will call them in for an interview.''
The Labor Department last week announced that the nation's employers cut 240,000 jobs in October, hurtling the U.S. unemployment rate to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent.
The ticket giveaway for the unemployed will be for five games, starting Nov. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Izod Center.
Three hundred tickets in the upper level of the arena will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis with each fan getting four tickets to one of the five available games.
Fans seeking jobs can sign up for free tickets through the Nets' Web site; they must e-mail their resume, former employer, contact information and career field of interest.
``This is an outlet for people to get their resume out there, free of charge, in front of the right people, even if they take advantage of the Nets' ticket offer or not,'' Yormark said.
The Nets also plan to have a career day at the Nov. 22 game with companies setting up informational booths at the arena.
If the program is successful, Yormark said the team would continue it next year.
, I think it is wonderful. Hopefully, when the economy turns around we'll have more fans.''
Center Josh Boone said that people need all the help they can get with the state of the economy.
``It's always good when an organization can give back to the community,'' said Boone, who will make $1.2 million this season. ``This is obviously one of those times.''
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