“They're gonna play 'The Addams Family,' this is America.”
It was the third quarter of the first Brooklyn Nets preseason game at Barclays Center, and I was dissecting DJ Enuff's choices with my friend Andrew, and longtime Nets fan/prisoner. It was a particularly cathartic moment because, several years ago, I had guided Andrew toward the Nets when he came to me asking where to lay his NBA allegiance. He was born into a baseball family, so had no team by birthright; he was from Los Angeles and he’s sensible enough not to be a Lakers fan and (in the pre-Blake era) not want to be a Clippers fan. He was in the rare position to rightfully claim whichever team he wanted. I pitched the Nets. And, in an atypical victory for the New Jersey squad, I won.
My friend was rudderless and I tossed him a not-yet-inflated life preserver with a hole in it—then tied weights to his feet and shouted something about Brooklyn as he drowned.
So when he and I crossed the threshold and entered Barclays for the (sort of first) Nets game in Brooklyn, my sigh of relief was tremendous. We made it.
I promise I won’t spend all season comparing the Brooklyn experience to Jersey, but boy is it tough right now. Because this is way different. Or rather, it will be way different. This first preseason game was a fascinating study of an arena —- in every sense of the word -- trying to shake off 35 years of stigma and grease on its way to becoming the premiere basketball happening in the world. In other words, it’s preseason.
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