Nets eager to begin play in new Brooklyn home

Richard G. Carter | 8/23/2012, 2:57 p.m.
"If you build it, they will come."--Ray Liotta, "Field of Dreams" (1993) On Nov. 1,...
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Of equal importance, it's almost certain the team will be welcomed by a new, rabid fan base in the braggadocio borough of 2 million people. Many of these are longtime residents of Brooklyn eager to once again have a big league sports team to call their own.

With the Nets and New York in mind, here is some of what I wrote in my Amsterdam News column of Nov. 6, 2003, almost nine years ago:

"Just around the corner is the very real, high-profile possibility that the New Millennium Nets will move back to New York from whence they came. In point of fact, the colorful New York Nets of the 1970s--the heyday of the gone but fondly remembered American Basketball Association--had it going on.

"Those Nets played with a red, white and blue ball and were led to ABA titles in 1974 and 1976 by the amazing Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, whose individual feats of magic continued into the '80s with the Philadelphia 76ers and, in my view, skunked what Michael Jordan later did.

"Of course, in one of the dumbest deals ever pulled off in pro sports--even dumber than those pulled by dumb-and-dumber James Dolan and Scott Layden of today's hapless Knicks--the Nets sold the nonpareil Dr. J to the Sixers. And I still can't believe it."

In other cost-cutting measures some 30 years later, Nets owner Bruce Ratner ruined his fine team by first sending Kenyon Martin to Denver, then Jason Kidd to Dallas, Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee and Vince Carter to Orlando. I can't believe that either.

But today, there is Brooklyn. And from a player's standpoint, the Barclays Center is the cat's meow. According to Williams--the best point guard in the NBA who has stopped by the arena on a number of occasions--it's a "baller's paradise."

Finally, the Brooklyn Nets' loaded roster is being viewed in a new light by canny observers in sports media and executives of other teams. The consensus is the Nets will make the playoffs this year, could win the Eastern Conference and may even become NBA champs.

Bottom line: The battle for local pro hoops supremacy starts Nov. 1, with the new Brooklyn Nets vs. the old New York Knicks. Get it on! And that's the name of that tune.