Jay-Z was not shy about his intentions to move the New Jersey nets to Brooklyn. New Jersey and New York City are ridiculously close; you can see NYC from the Newark Airport. They are so close that the New York Jets and Giants actually play in East Rutherford, New Jersey. So the move for the Nets from New Jersey to New York was not exactly drastic. On top of that, the New Jersey Nets from about 2007 to 2012 were considered pretty bad and had declining attendance numbers each year during that period.
However, in 2013, something changed…
The Nets got a top to bottom rebranding save the team name. The basketball world was able to see the new colors, the new logo, and the fancy, new arena. The smart observer may have noticed that Brooklyn was getting more attention, more games on ESPN and TNT, and a stronger following than the lowly New Jersey Nets. The result of this move was a new swagger for the Nets franchise. They’re the new guys with the classy black and white uniforms that are often reserved for alternate jerseys. They are already equipped with a franchise face in Deron Williams who is locked up with a long term contract and were blessed to have a fan base ready to receive them. Oh, and there’s the owner, Mikhail Prokorhov, who does not care about the NBA Salary Cap or any other cost that stands in his way of creating a super team.
Ownership is showing that they will do anything to field a competitive team. Last year, they ended up second in the Atlantic Division and the fourth seed overall. Not content with their first round exit to the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn dealt for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce indicating that they are interested in the “Win Now!” philosophy. The Knicks, who only finished with five games over Brooklyn this season, has now responded by signing hometown boy Ron Artest (or Metta World Peace as he has named himself). Artest has established himself as a top flight defender over his career and historically has been productive against Pierce over the years. The New York-Brooklyn Rivalry has gone into an “anything you can do, I can do better” mode where each team vies for control over one of the most exciting, and revenue-yielding, cities in the world. Do not expect this to be the last development for either of these teams. Both squads are thirsting for a championship for different reasons. Brooklyn wants to assert itself as the upstart younger brother, while the Knicks yearn to clinch a championship for one of the most historic franchises in all of sports.