Allow me to reintroduce myself: I wrote a back when I first moved to Brooklyn and am making my triumphant return with this post, the first in what will be a weekly blog covering the Brooklyn Nets. Besides providing commentary on all things Nets, I hope to bolster support for our city's newest professional sports team and maybe convert a few fans of that other NBA team across the East River.
Over the next 10 weeks, I'll be working hard to get everyone prepped for the season. I will cover the top offseason stories, help you get to know the Nets' players and staff and make sure you know who to follow on Twitter to keep up with the Nets all season long. Once the season gets started, I will offer a fan's take on team storylines and react to breaking team news. As a former Knicks fan, I promise not to take too many shots at my old team along the way but aren't rivalries one of the best parts of sports?
While my decision to convert to the Nets was sealed when I moved to Brooklyn in 2011 knowing they were joining me here a year later, I would have jumped on the black-and-white bandwagon had I stayed in “the city.” It isn't just my proximity to the arena that drove me to choose the Nets; there are a ton of reasons why I switched my allegiance.
The Nets have a fantastic ownership/management combo in Mikhail Prokhorov and Billy King. Both men are committed to building a winning team as evidenced by their $330M investment on players this offseason. Their commitment to keeping Olympic gold medalist Deron Williams paid off and they did a great job in acquiring Joe Johnson, who will be a superstar here. Sure, they missed out on Dwight Howard but that enabled them to keep a strong core in place and the team they will put on the floor will still be one of the best in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Another reason to look forward to the season is that they will be playing their home games in the beautiful (if controversial) Barclays Center. While I certainly love and respect Madison Square Garden, having seen many great college and pro basketball games and Phish concerts there, it's currently undergoing a renovation and has already lost much of its charm. Brand new from the ground up, the Barclays Center is poised to one up the Garden in providing an amazing atmosphere for basketball even if it can't rival the Mecca of basketball's history. And did I mention tickets for Nets games start at just $15 for every single game?
Rooting for the Knicks for years I would be reluctant to call them the “favorites” to win anything but compared to the Nets, basketball fans will agree that the Nets are this city's underdogs. While the Knicks have not won a title in my lifetime, the Nets have never won an NBA title - ever. Both of the Nets' championships came while playing in the ABA. Until the Nets win their first NBA title, they'll be New York City's loveable underdogs.
On top of the great ownership, talented team, beautiful new arena and underdog status, there are even more reasons to love the Nets. They have the coolest owner in sports history in Jay Z, their black-and-white gear is on point and they play in the city's biggest, best borough (it's true) and arguably the coolest place on the planet, Brooklyn. Come to think of it, I can't think of a good reason why you shouldn't root for the Nets this season.