So after all of the court dates, changed dates, boycotts, and assumptions the Brooklyn Nets will finally become official after today's groundbreaking ceremony. Join me @ 1:30 for a live-blog here. You can either read along or add to the discussion in the comments. See you at 1:30.
1:28 - Alright guys, I got the ceremony tuned on and ready to go. It is on YES for those in the tri-state area. I caught the tail end of an episode of Nets' magazine, and they were talking T-Will. A quote from him, "My goal for this team is everyone goes out and plays as hard as they can."
1:30 - ...and here we go...
1:31 - We got Chris Shearn and Jessica Taff here. Such a big day you'd think YES would break the bank to get Marv and the Czar here today.
1:34 - They just showed all of the shovels. There were a lot of them, how many people are here? A quote from Chris Shearn, "When the shovels go into the ground, there will be a lot of happy people."
1:36 - They are listing celebrities from Brooklyn, and Debra Messing got mentioned. I hope this isn't what is going to be going on the entire hour. Seems they are just killing time until the speakers get going.
1:39 - Jessica Taft just mentioned that this project will create jobs...for the third time. They are looking for things to kill time with. Apparently everyone has been asked to take their seats.
1:40 - Now we are getting to the awesome stuff. They are making the practice facility so that people walking along the streets can see inside. They have this for the Pacers in Conseco Fieldhouse, and I saw it when I was in Indiana. I gotta say, even when it is empty it is pretty surreal to walk by and be able to see where NBA players practice.
1:42 - Because I write for NetsAreScorching, I am on the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn e-mail list. They are calling this the "Ratner's Arena Boondoggle Ceremony." Now, I don't agree with the DDDB, but I gotta say, that is pretty funny. I wonder if we are going to be able to catch any protesters on TV.
1:43 - They are showing pictures of what the court will look like. It is pretty sweet. We got the Brooklyn Steppers in the background too.
1:45 - They play the national anthem at these things? This is weird. I don't know what to do. Do I stand in my bedroom?
1:48 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry Sr. is up with the invocation.
1:56 - Al Sharpton sighting!
1:57 - Marty Markowitz is handling the protesters in stride. "Sorry about the noise outside. Must be disgruntled Knicks fans." ZING. YES is doing a good job of muffling the sound, because I don't even hear anything even though they are being loud.
1:58 - Beyonce sighting!
1:58 - "Future home of the future NBA champs!" Easy now Marty...
1:59 - David Paterson is up talking now. And for some reason Al Sharpton got up on stage with him and is sitting next to the podium (out of the camera).
2:00 - Apparently there are a ton of political jokes being made. The crowd is laughing at stuff Paterson is saying. It's going over my head.
2:03 - Paterson with some statistics. 16,000 union jobs being created by this. 5,500 permanent jobs. $51 million in contracts coming to Brooklyn. 43% of companies getting the 65 contracts are located in Brooklyn.
2:05 - Paterson just used the word "scrupulous" I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty impressive.
2:06 - On getting weekly updates about the project, "I want this project to be transparent and efficient all the way through."
2:07 - "When they sold Dr. J's contract to the Sixers, it was one of the worst days of my life. Until I became governor.
2:09 - Marty just called Michael Bloomberg the LeBron James of mayors, looked over to Jay-Z, and said "see what I did there Jay. LeBron." I think Jay-Z was just ordered to get LeBron James to come to the Nets.
2:10 - "I know it took a long time, but nobody is going to remember how long it took. Just that it got done." Michael Bloomberg.
2:13 - Reverend Al Sharpton is up now. Hopefully he finishes this with "for goodness sake, let's have some cake."
2:16 - Al Sharpton just said, "We can't do this without labor pains." and then YES showed someone in the crowd laughing. I don't know if those two events are related.
2:19 - Here comes Bruce Ratner to the podium. Here's where I'd make a joke about him being cheap if I was funny.
2:20 - Bruce Ratner is yelling. Can someone tell him that the microphones are used to make his voice louder and he doesn't have to yell.
2:21 - "It took seven years but we got there together." Bruce Ratner.
2:23 - "Through the hard times, Barclays stuck with us through thick and thin." Bruce Ratner.
2:26 - Ratner talks about Prokhorov. He looked around as he said thanks, which means he might be here, but the camera didn't pan over to anyone.
2:27 - Ratner thanked Rod Thorn and all the basketball people like 6th or 7th in the list. Shows you how important basketball is to him.
2:33 - "Nothing will be complete without talking about lawyers, lawyers, and more lawyers...these lawyers give the profession a great name." Bruce Ratner
2:34 - "34 lawsuits. 34 wins and no losses. Come on Nets, you need that court record." Bruce Ratner
2:37 - I understand this was Ratner's day and he had to speak, but I will be happy never hearing him talk about anything Nets related ever again.
2:40 - Robert E. Diamond, Jr. President of Barclays, LLC is up talking now. They saving Jay-Z for last?
2:42 - Jay-Z getting introduced twice. Fitting.
2:45 - "When I stand here, I represent hop for the city of Brooklyn." Jay-Z.
2:46 - "We did it again Brooklyn. Shout out to B.I.G." Jay-Z.
2:49 - You aren't that important when you give your speech and they cut to pictures of shovels and hardhats.
2:51 - In case you were wondering, Forest City Ratner only builds with Union workers.
2:53 - Another guy I don't recognize is talking, and again they cut to video of construction equipment. Must not be important.
2:55 - Brett Yormark is the last speaker. I don't really care for what he is going to say, so I will tell you about this live blog from Curbed: NY. They are at the event, so it is probably better than this one.
2:57 - Yormark is still talking. Something about marketing. But man, I should have found a way to get to this thing. Look at what they are serving:
2:58 - "On a personal note, your friendship." Brett sneaking in the announcement of his friendship with Jay-Z.
3:00 - Marty. "Now lets do what we have been waiting 7 years to do. BREAK THE GROUND." Ratner's yelling is contagious.
3:01 - Why are they making guys who sprinkle dirt on the ground wear a hardhat? Now that everyone and the cameras are outside, you can start to hear the whistles from the protesters. It's slightly annoying. You win protesters!
3:04 - So they make them shovel and throw confetti on top? That seems inefficient.
3:08 - The post-game...er...post groundbreaking coverage will be continuing on YES, but I think my job here is done. Hope you enjoyed the live-blog.