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Nets are carpetbaggers

for The Brooklyn Paper
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In order to convince Brooklynites to stay loyal to the New York Knicks, I could portray the New Jersey Nets as “carpetbagg­ers.” The Reconstruction-era term describes those that move to a new location to exploit the locals. I could mention that the Nets are unstable with regards to their location, having multiple homes during their short existence (Long Island Arena, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Rutgers Athletic Center, and Izod Center). I could imply that Brooklyn will be their new home until their next new home, and like the Dodgers before them they could head for another city. I could mention the Nets miserable history, and as bad as the Knicks have been recently the Nets have been worse. Just last year, the Nets lost a franchise high 70 games.

Instead, I think there’s a better reason for Kings County residents to remain with the Knicks. From 2002-2007, the Nets reached the playoffs six straight times including losing the finals twice. New York’s last successful era was from 1988-2001, and like the Nets, the team nearly won two championships. Think about those times and what do New Yorkers remember? Starks’ dunk over Jordan. Ewing vs. Olajuwon. Houston’s game winner. LJ’s four-point play.

But what about the Nets? New Jersey went to the finals in 2002, but the memorable event of that postseason was the badly officiated Lakers-Kings series. Can you recall a single moment from the Nets in that playoff series? How about from any of the Nets postseason series? If you can’t think of a single significant moment from the Nets, don’t fret because no one else does either. Google “Knicks Greatest Moments” and you’ll receive 109,000 links. Google “Nets Greatest Moments” and you’ll be asked if meant “Mets Greatest Moments,” with zero of New Jersey’s best memories.

If any NBA fan talks about Jordan, Olajuwon, Reggie, or Mourning, the Knicks will undoubtedly enter the conversation. New Jersey faced the Lakers and Spurs in the 2002 playoffs, yet you could talk all day about Shaq, Kobe, or Duncan without mentioning the Nets. Historically, the Knicks have been relevant, so much that they’ve become a part of the NBA annals. And even though the Nets had some success, they have become historically insignificant.

At KnickerBlogger.Net I often feature statistics over passion. However, being a fan is all about emotion, and in that category the Knicks have the Nets beat.

Mike Kurylo is a life-long New Yorker who created and maintains the Knicks blog Knicker Blogger at www.knickerblogger.net.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jon from NJ says:
In addition to the overtime game 5 win vs. the Pacers in 02, here's one more Nets memory from that playoff stretch that readily comes to mind:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/26/sports/pro-basketball-sweeps-weekend-martin-and-nets-show-the-knicks-the-nearest-exit.html
Nov. 29, 2010, 9:46 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike Kurylo is pretty much right about saying how the Nets will be carpetbaggers. Most of the NBA fans in Brooklyn are long time Knicks fans that will probably never convert to the Nets even if they move there. Just because a team has a number of losing seasons isn't the reason to just abandon them. As a matter of fact, loyal fans stick with their team no matter how good or bad they do. If Brooklyn wasn't rooting for the Nets when they made the NBA Finals not that long ago, then I doubt that they would be rooting for the Nets when they come there. In reality, there is more than having the name that gets fans. The Nets already do have a fan base as a NJ team, and they will lose most of it if they move. The Nets are not a NY team, and they shouldn't be treated as one either.
Nov. 29, 2010, 3:24 pm
eLone from Jersey City says:
Mike, I think you are missing the point. The fact the Nets aren't remembered for all these great moments (that they did in fact have) is THE REASON why they are moving to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is like its own city, with pride that extends far beyond just calling themselves a "New Yorker".

Moving the team to Brooklyn gives them a sense of identity, one that can be established long term and with the younger generation who eventually will recall the great Brooklyn teams of the 2020's in a similar way you are now.

There is plenty of history to back the concept of a team moving to a new city and finding support, highlights, and winning mentality.
Nov. 29, 2010, 4:09 pm
John from the Jersey Shore says:
Honestly written from the perspective of the biased Knicks fan. But I agree, those Knicks teams from the 80's were truly memorable and the Nets' run of success was short-lived and now a distant memory after the 12-70 debacle. But there's a saying that sums up the reality of who will get fan support (best said with a NY/NJ accent): "What have you done for me lately?". Whichever team outplays the other, has more success in the playoffs and gets the star players, that's who New Yorkers will love. While it lasts. Everybody loves a winner. Currently, that's the Knicks. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Nov. 29, 2010, 4:45 pm
Al from Park Slope says:
MOst people who currently live in Brooklyn molst likely moved here from somewhere else. And if you have lived here your whole life,, then you probably have many neighbors who are fairly new to the borough. So the nets are one more resident looking for a home in our great borough.

I actually like the fact that the Nets have not had any memorable moments in their history. When you think of how great the team was when it was going to the Finals with Kidd, Martin & Jefferson, if they had been the Brooklyn Nets, people would still be talking about that team.... In reality, it was the NJ before their name that made that team so forgetable....

So the team is not so great today... That nakes it that much more exciting to know that the city they will be soon playing in will be just as big as a winner as the team can be. The city with the winning team earns that same swagger as the guys on the floor. I mean Chicago became just as big as the Bulls, LA just as big as the Magic or Kobe led Lakers, and even NY had the sizzle when Clyde and Willis were running that team.

Just as Brooklyn has adopted people and cultures from all over the world, Im cool with adopting the Nets to do what Brooklyn does, take those who are looking for an opportunity to be great and and suppoty them while they make it Happen!!!!
Nov. 30, 2010, 7:58 am
Kevin from Greenpoint says:
Game 5 - Nets v. Pacers, 2002. In the final seconds of the game, Reggie Miller hit a half-court shot to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Dec. 1, 2010, 1:04 pm
Rob from Jersey City says:
Hey Al; New Jersey hasn't hurt the Devils. They have been one of the most succesful hockey franchises in the last 22 years missing the playoffs only once. This year maybe different but they are fighting back and are one of the best stories in the league. The Nets were just never dedicated to NJ the way the Devils are.

Has NY helped the Rangers and Islanders lately...NOPE. Did either get Ilya Kovalchuck one of the top 5 hockey players in the world...NOPE he came to NEW JERSEY!!! If the Nets won more they would have been embraced and another reason those great Nets years when we had a 26-4 record over the Knicks were forgotten was because during that success it was announced they were moving to BK.

Get your history right!!!
Feb. 27, 2011, 11:50 pm
Rob from Jersey City says:
Excuse me the Devils missed only twice in 22 years.
Feb. 27, 2011, 11:50 pm

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