” Broooooklyn, Brooooooooklyn, Brooooooooklyn”. When the Brooklyn Nets are in action at home, you can hear this chant booming through all sections of the brand new, and the new home of the Nets, the Barclays Center. Back when the Nets were originated way back in 1966, it is hard to imagine that anyone would have had any idea what the future was to hold for the club.
Back in 1966, the Nets were one of the teams that was apart of the American Basketball Association, or better known as simply the ABA. The owner of the Nets at this point in time was Arthur J Brown. At first, the team was named the New York Americans. Just months before the season was about to begin, the Nets were scrambling to find a place to call their home arena after the New York Knicks, who at the time were apart of the more established, and more respected National Basketball Association ( NBA), were not happy with Brown looking to find an arena so close to where they played their home games. In the end, the team was forced to play in the Teaneck Armory, which was in Teaneck New Jersey. With the team now moving to New Jersey, Brown decided it would be necessary to change the name of the team to the New Jersey Americans for the time being.
After the first season in Teaneck, the Nets were once again left scrambling for a place to play since the Teaneck armory would not be a possible home location for the team. The team wanted to move to Newark, but after that deal fell through, the Nets were stuck in Long Island, and changed their name to the ” Nets”. The name “Nets ” was created since the New York Jets, and the New York Mets, were already teams In the New York Area, and Brown and company thought it would be a good idea to keep the names relatively similar. Also, ” Nets” is considered a basketball term, which is referenced when talking about the basketball hoop.
After a few years, the Nets success rate seemed to vary from year to year. One year they finished with the worst record in the league finishing with a very minimal win total of just seventeen, while losing a total of sixty one games. The next year after, the team was able to make the ABA Finals, but came up just short against the Indiana Pacers in four games. In 1974, the Nets put it all together. Thanks to the acquisition of ” Dr. J” Julius Irving, who is widely considered to be one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball, the Nets put together a tremendous season in which the team won a franchise record of fifty five games in route to winning the ABA Finals.
Right before the start of the 1976 NBA season, what was called the ” ABA Merger” took place. Four teams in the ABA were now able to join the more established NBA. Those four teams were the Indiana Pacers, the Denver Nuggets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Nets. The arrival to the NBA was not a smooth one to say the least for the Nets. The Nets were forced to pay an extra 4.8 million dollars simply for what was considered ” invading the hometown of the New York Knicks”. This money that they were forced to pay, to go along with an extra 3.2 million that was spent in getting into the NBA made it nearly impossible for the Nets to pay their star player in Julius Erving. In the first year in the NBA, the Nets were a disaster. They finished with a league worst record of 22-60, and at the end of the year, with attendance and fan support way down, the team decided it was time to move back to New Jersey.
After the move, the team was named the New Jersey Nets, and that name would stick all the way until the end of the 2011 season. The Nets moved to the Meadowlands, which was right next to the stadium where the Jets and the Giants played. The arena the Nets would play in was named the Brendan Byrne Arena, and that name would stick until the 1996 season when it would be named the Continental Airlines Arena. From the year 1981, till the year 1986, the Nets had moderate success, and did not endure one losing season. Although the Nets were an above average team, they are unable to win any titles during this time period, and in the years following, the team struggled mightily due to many injuries that the team quite simply were unable to overcome.
From about 1986-2001, it was much of the same for the New Jersey Nets. At points they showed flashes of being a very good team, but other times they showed that they were a long way away from being a very strong and competitive team that could contend for a NBA title. Once the 2001 season rolled around though, the Nets franchise took a turn in the right direction. The team became very competitive year in and year out. In 2003, the Nets had a very strong season, and found themselves in the NBA Finals facing the always tough San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, the Nets were unable to beat the Spurs, and the team has not been able to reach the finals since.
Over the years, the team has had it share of great players. But in 2004-2009, the team may have had the players that will be associated with the team forever. Players such as Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter, Kenyon Martin, and many more that will always be remembered for their great success in the New Jersey Nets uniform. In 2009, the arena the Nets played in changed its name from the continental Airlines Arena, to the Izod Center. This is just a minor change for what was to come in the future for the Nets franchise.
In 2009, Russian millionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he intended to become the majority owner of the New Jersey Nets. In 2010 the Nets agreed to a deal that would make their new home court the Prudential Center. The Nets would continue to play in this arena up until their move to Brooklyn.
The move to Brooklyn became official for the Nets on March 11th of 2010. The excitement around this move sent shockwaves throughout the entire NBA. Partial owner, and famous musician Jay Z announced the new team name would be the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were all set to become the first team since the Brooklyn Dodgers to have a professional team to play in the borough of Brooklyn. The Barclays center was already in the process of being built, and the Nets were all set to start the next chapter of their career. The last few years in Jersey, the nets were simply not a good team. They struggled mightily, and did not make the playoffs.
Finally, on October 15th, 2012 the first game at the Barclays center took place between the Brooklyn Nets, and the Washington Wizards in a game of preseason basketball. Sitting at 620 Atlantic Avenue right in the middle of the Borough of Brooklyn, finally, the highly anticipated move to Brooklyn was complete for the Nets.
From the fans that I was able to catch up with and question, some love the move to Brooklyn, and some are not that big of a fan of the move for various reasons. One person told me that they were a fan of the move because ” the team desperately needed a change of scenery after its losing ways in the past. The team needed a chance to gain territory, while in New Jersey they never really had the chance to call a territory their own, now Brooklyn is all theirs”. When I asked the same person if they believe having team in Brooklyn was a smart move they said ” yes absolutely, the borough of Brooklyn is buzzing now with a franchise to once again call their own”.
While some fans were happy about the move, one fan I was able to question was not a fan, but he understood the reasoning why the Nets did what they did. When asked why he was not a fan of the move to Brooklyn, he answered with “I am not a fan of the move to Brooklyn because the Izod Center was much easier to get too for me”. For a fan who wants to go see a game, the parking at Izod Center was much better than it is at Barclays to this day. But when asked if he thought it was a smart move for the Nets, he could not help but answer ” Yes, the move created a much bigger fan base for a team that desperately needed it.
One issue the Nets had in NJ was the lack of fan support in the last few years in the Izod Center. The team was struggling, and the fans were not spending money to watch a team lose often. But the move to Brooklyn brought a spark to the Nets and their fans, The Nets changed their colors from blue and white, to black and white, which excited the fans and the team. Also, prior to the start of the 2013 NBA season, the Nets made moves that changed the franchise forever. While the Nets were a strong team last year, the team ultimately fell short and lost to the Chicago Bulls in the play offs. This offseason, General Manager Billy King made sure his team would be better than ever before. The Nets made a trade with the Celtics for all stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. Those three added to all stars Deron Williams, and big man Brook Lopez gave the Nets one of the best starting lineups in the entire NBA. After just two games in, evin Garnett can already tell the electiricty in Barclays center was serious. Garnett said ” This place is electric. I had to stop looking in the crowd, it was a distraction, but a good one. It is going to be a pleasure playing here”. Just two games in, and Garnett was already able to feel the energy in the arena, which for years the players and fans could not feel while in New Jersey.
The move to Brooklyn was not only smart for the Nets, but it was smart for the NBA. For the first time in a long time, the Knicks and the Nets are now true rivals. These two teams do not like each other, and both teams are trying to show that they are ” New York’s Team”. Ever since the Nets have moved to Brooklyn, the matchups between the Knicks and the Nets have been incredibly entertaining, and every game has sold out.
With Barclays center now in place, the borough of Brooklyn is buzzing once again. While the Nets have made Brooklyn their permanent home, many other events have come into Brooklyn with the Barclays center. Concert, carnivals, College Basketball, and many, many more events have come in to Brooklyn, and have drawn huge crowds. The Nets move to Brooklyn has made the borough of Brooklyn alive, and there is never a dull moment. Some say that the move to Brooklyn for the Nets ” Not only impacted the Nets, but it also had an impact on the borough of Brooklyn”
The move to Brooklyn rejuvenated a franchise desperately needing a fresh start, it rejuvenated a borough that had been without a professional sports team for many years, and most of all rejuvenated a fan base that needed something to cheer about in the worst way. For many years to come, the chant of ” Brooklyn, Brooklyn” will rain down on the players and performers in the Barclays Center.