Among the Houston Rockets’ plans to honor the victims, survivors and first responders of last week’s shooting that claimed the lives of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe (Texas) High School, owner Tilman Fertitta reportedly invited the school’s entire senior class to attend Thursday’s Game 5.
A native of Galveston County, the municipality southeast of Houston that includes Santa Fe, Fertitta is providing 300 tickets, food, transportation and a police escort for the students, per multiple reports.
“We’re just trying to do our little bit. That’s all,” Fertitta told reporters from Wednesday’s Game 4 in Oakland, via KPRC-TV. “Just trying to make a special day where, 30 years from now, they think about going to that Western Conference finals game instead of their last few days of being a senior.”
Rockets plan video tribute to Santa Fe victims
At Thursday’s Game 5, the Rockets will honor Santa Fe’s senior class and the first responders to the shooting on the court in addition playing a pregame video tribute to the victims, Fertitta said. The high school’s choir has been invited to sing the national anthem, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“In the midst of this difficult time,” the Santa Fe High School administration wrote in a letter to students extending Fertitta’s invite, “we are appreciative of the outpouring support from our caring community. … It is our hope at Santa Fe High School that this will provide our graduating seniors with an evening to gather with friends who have reached the milestone of graduating together.”
Chris Paul to Houston: ‘We are going to need you’
Rockets point guard Chris Paul, who extended his sympathies to the Santa Fe community in addition to calling for action in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s shooting, again expressed support for the survivors after scoring 27 points and grabbing the game-clinching rebound in Wednesday’s victory.
“The city of Houston, we are going to need you,” Paul told reporters, via KTRK-TV. “We are going to need you Game 5. The city has been through a tough time with the things at Santa Fe, but hopefully basketball can be a way that people can come and ease their minds if only for a second. So Houston, we are coming home.”
“Hopefully they find joy in coming to the game,” added Rockets wing Trevor Ariza.
Thursday’s Game 5 is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CST in Houston.
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