As the Nets get closer to the end of their days in New Jersey, coach Avery Johnson took time out after a team photo to reflect on some of the good years for the franchise in the Garden State.
The Nets had quite a run during the early 2000s, including six straight playoff appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals. And though there were many tough years before and after that stretch, Johnson chose to rehash the good times.
“I can’t exactly remember our record when we played in the Meadowlands, but the years when the Nets were in the finals, it was fun playing against the team,” said Johnson, who enjoyed an impressive 16-year career as a player. “Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles…Kenyon Martin. That team had a two-year run, that’s what I really remember of the Nets. Not some of the lean years.”
The lean years have begun to stack up lately for the Nets, who fell to the Heat 101-98 on Monday and hosted the Knicks last night (Wednesday). However, that hasn’t diminished the drive in Johnson to succeed in Brooklyn. New scenery, new digs and a new fan base could be just what the doctor ordered for the Nets. Although excited about moving across the river, Johnson is hoping the franchise doesn’t alienate its New Jersey fan base with the move.
“I don’t want to put the fans in New Jersey down. I still like to celebrate them, because they supported the team through good and bad times,” said Johnson. “But we’re excited about energizing a different fan base, a new fan base in Brooklyn.”
So far, the Nets have been a hit in and around downtown Brooklyn, according to Johnson. “I went to a Cyclones game,” said the coach. “And that was pretty exciting, to go to a minor league baseball game and see a sellout crowd and see all of the fans talk about how they are excited about us coming to their community.”
Get your tickets while they’re still available, because the Nets’ last appearance in New Jersey is Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Everywhere I go [in Brooklyn], I can feel the excitement,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll fill up the Barclays Center, and when they come to see us, hopefully we’ll be a team that really performs well at home.”