Andrea Bargnani, Johan Petro

A poster for futility. (AP)

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has talked openly and often about the Nets being a global brand, and he's stood by his word: today's game in London, England at the 02 Arena isn't their first foray out of the continent.

On March 4th and March 5th, 2011, the then-New Jersey Nets were in London for two games against the Toronto Raptors. Also, they were terrible that season: they went 24-58 and won just four games by double digits. But one of those double-digit victories games was in London!

The Nets actually swept the London bowl in 2011, winning 116-103 on March 4th and surviving a triple-overtime 137-136 victory on the 5th. Travis Outlaw hit some key free throws to save the Nets in the third overtime.

That last sentence should give you an idea of how bad the Nets were in 2011. Here's their full roster from the end of that season... MORE →

 

John Wall, Deron Williams

Divergence. (AP)

Most would agree that the beginning of the "new Nets" era -- not necessarily the Brooklyn Nets, but the origin of this team's formation -- came on February 23rd, 2011, when the team acquired Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two future first-round draft picks. True, the acquisition of Williams was the first domino that led to Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, and eventually Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

But assembling the Brooklyn Nets goes a little further back, and true to form, the first domino that allowed this entire team's construction fell months earlier, in perfectly random fashion, and it's got everything to do with tonight's matchup.
... MORE →

 

Jason Kidd Jersey Retirement

Jason Kidd's #5 headed to the rafters. (Gallery) (Video)

Chances are you didn't miss it, but if you did: the Brooklyn Nets retired Jason Kidd's #5 New Jersey Nets jersey in a preseason ceremony Thursday night, replete with extravagance. There was a light show. There were fireworks. There were former Nets (Buck Williams, Kerry Kittles) and current suits (Bruce Ratner, Brett Yormark, Dmitry Razumov). There were podium introductions by Chris Carrino, the phenomenal Nets radio announcer, and Rod Thorn, the GM that orchestrated Jason Kidd's very arrival with the Nets. Kenyon, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, and Dirk Nowitzki all recorded video tributes for the jumbotron. A bunch of Kidd's former coaches and teammates were on hand to honor him as he honored them: Kidd said as his number was raised, his teammates went up with him.

Indeed, the retirement had a special flavor. Kidd is the team's greatest NBA player, its current head coach, and now part owner. He's as much a face of the Nets organization as the Nets have ever had, even considering his ignominious departure from the team after requesting a trade in 2008. Unless he has a supreme fall from grace, he stands to be the face of the Brooklyn Nets in this generation, as they make the transition from caricature to contender.

But that's also what made the whole spectacle strange.
... MORE →

 

The Brooklyn Nets organization will officially retire former Nets guard and current Nets head coach & part owner Jason Kidd's New Jersey Nets jersey, in a ceremony prior to tonight's 8 P.M. preseason game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Kidd's #5 joins Nets retired jerseys Wendell Ladner (#4), Bill Melchionni (#25), Julius Erving (#32), John Williamson (#23), Drazen Petrovic (#3), and Buck Williams (#52).

Kidd has stated publicly that he wanted the jersey retirement to come in preseason so as not to distract from the team during the regular season. He's suspended for the first two games of the regular season following a DUI plea, a suspension that's consistent in the league.

For 506 regular season games and 78 playoff games in six and a half seasons, Kidd controlled the helm in New Jersey. He led the team to six straight playoff appearances and six consecutive seasons of .500 or better, the longest such streak in franchise history. He finished his Nets career with 4,620 assists, far and away the most of any player in franchise history. He also holds the Nets franchise record for three-point field goals (made and attempted), steals, and ranks fourth overall in points scored.

Pictures of the banner have leaked online, but out of respect to Kidd and his family, we won't show them here. We'll merely say: if you want to find them, you can. Or, you can wait until tonight to see the banner raised in its official ceremony. Up to you.

 

by MrNykes via Instagram

Judging from the number of Nets hats one sees in the streets of Kings County, it sure seems that the Brooklyn Nets have captured the imagination of Brooklyn.

But there’s some statistical evidence that the Nets are not yet fully a Brooklyn team.

First, just 16.7 percent of those who watched the Nets on YES Network are from Brooklyn, according to information provided The Brooklyn Game by Scarborough Research. By contrast, 30.7 percent were from New Jersey, and 46 percent came from New York City as a whole. (Chart below)

Second, The Brooklyn Game's own web traffic follows a roughly similar pattern. Our recent user survey indicated that 26 percent or our readers come from Brooklyn vs. 40 percent from New Jersey. Our site traffic is in the same zone, and, according to Tweetsmap.com, 30.8 percent of @TheBKGame followers come from New York City. In the state breakdown, 35 percent come from New York State compared to 14.7 in New Jersey.

The Nets declined to provide numbers on the geographic distribution of ticket buyers.

But the available statistics all indicate that the majority of active Brooklyn Nets fans are not from Brooklyn.

In a way, it's not surprising. If you were an ultra-serious basketball fan living in Brooklyn for the last few decades, you rooted for the Knicks, you didn’t sit out the season in the hope that some day Brooklyn would have a team. So the Nets started off with a problem: the Brooklynites who cared most about basketball already had other loyalties. Then, unfortunately for the Nets, the Knicks chose this year to get good again, making it less likely that grumpy, Dolan-hating Knicks fans would jump ship to the new team. Meanwhile, it's to be expected that many New Jerseyans who had stuck with the Nets during the lean years would stay with the new-improved version.

Perhaps we should just rejoice that the Brooklyn/Jersey Nets are a "national team" – what with the cool logo and the Jay-Z ownership.

On the other hand, despite the self-evident awesomeness of Nets fans, there are at least two signs that the situation is less than ideal. The Emory Sports Marketing Analytics study ranked the Nets dead last in fan involvement. It may not feel that way to those chanting Brooooook-lyn in the middle of Barclays -- or to the many who creatively "Rep Your Nets" each week -- but the folks at Emory argue that the most objective way to compare across cities is to look at the dollars spent relative what would be projected based on the population and other factors.

And while there's no precise way of knowing how fan intensity might affect a team, it is worth noting that the Nets had one of the worst home court advantage differentials in the league. As Devin wrote earlier, "Per 100 possessions, Brooklyn is only 1.7 points better at home than on the road, a margin that's only better than one team -- the 20-62 Orlando Magic, the team with the league's worst overall record."

Even if the diffuseness of the Nets fan base doesn't relate to either "brand equity" or the home court performance, it can't be a good thing in the long run that Brooklyn -- a city of 2.5 million people -- isn't supplying the bulk the Brooklyn Nets' fans.

Are there things the Nets could do to better penetrate the borough?

The Nets already conduct a variety of community events around the borough, especially with young people. And Barclays has made a point of using local Brooklyn food.

Personally, I think it would help if even a Net or two lived in Brooklyn, as several of the Brooklyn Dodgers did.

And it would be nice if the Forest City Ratner folks keep their promises about the development. Otherwise, some portion of Brooklyn will feel like rooting for the Nets is an endorsement of dishonest business practices.

[Note to Brooklyn readers: What else should the Nets do?]

This is just the first year in Brooklyn. Perhaps its not shocking that the Nets don't have Dodgers-like penetration. But the team should at least realize that the whole borough is not going hard for the Nets just yet.

Cable TV audience watching the Nets:

Source, Scarborough Research, NY DMA (2013, Release 1)

 

This won't come as a surprise, and if it does you don't even have a rudimentary understanding of the NBA, but the Nets don't have as illustrious a history as the Los Angeles Lakers. Shocker. The Lakers are an NBA team from the league's second season in 1947, while the Nets are a 1960s ABA team turned NBA expansion franchise in the late 70s. The Lakers have Wilt, West, Kareem, Magic, Kobe and Shaq. The Nets have Jason Kidd and three seasons of Dr. J in the ABA.  The Lakers have 16 NBA championships and the Nets have 2 ABA titles.

So when you learn that the Nets have only been in seven "Winner Take All" games in franchise history to the Lakers' 26, it shouldn't surprise you. By "Winner Take All," we mean the final game of a series, that the winner of the game wins the series. That's either the fifth game of a best-of-five series, which the NBA used to decide first round series from 1984-2002, or the more popular seventh game of a best-of-seven series.

Starting with game seven of the 1970 ABA first round against the Kentucky Colonels, here's a history of all seven "Winner Take All" games in Nets franchise History, in which the Nets have a 4-3 record overall.

Start Here: April 29, 1970

 

Former New Jersey Nets forward (1997-99) and Elizabeth, N.J. native Chris Gatling faces several criminal charges after police said he squatted in a Paradise Valley, AZ home for over a year and then tried to list the house for rent on Craigslist.

According to the Arizona Republic:... MORE →

 

Saturday afternoon’s 142-134 triple-overtime loss to the Bulls in Game Four set a Nets franchise playoff record for points, because the basketball Gods have a cruel sense of humor. Or, it could have something to do with it being only the second triple overtime playoff game in Nets history.

Regardless of the cause, the loss was painful. Even though the wound of Game Four remains fresh, it’s never too early to contextualize this playoff OT game. In the 46 year ABA/NBA history of the Nets franchise, the team has played in eleven playoff games with bonus basketball. From three ABA overtime victories to yesterday’s heartbreaker, the Nets have a 7-4 all-time record in playoff overtime games. Here's a brief history of all eleven, starting with a victory over the Kentucky Colonels in April of 1970, and including Saturday's (expletive deleted) loss to Chicago.

Start Here: April 19, 1970

 

"There are millions and millions of dollars being made off the sweat and grind of the student athlete." - Ed O'Bannon (AP)

In two less-than-impressive NBA seasons with the then-New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks in the late '90s, Ed O'Bannon scored only 634 points. But O'Bannon's impact on the sports world may prove to be far greater than two forgettable years in the Association: in 2009, the 6'8" former forward filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the largest athletic enterprise on earth, and the suit is coming to a head now.

Despite an underwhelming NBA career, O'Bannon had a studly college run  in Bruin Blue. The UCLA star won the 1995 John R. Wooden Award -- basketball's version of the Heisman -- en route to a national championship and NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.  Now that it's NCAA Tournament time, Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star Ledger caught up with the 9th overall pick from the 1995 draft to discuss his NBA days, life as a car salesman, and challenging the economic system of a multi-billion dollar industry.... MORE →

 

After missing the playoffs since 2007, the 40-28 Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot Thursday night in their inaugural season in Brooklyn thanks to a loss by the Philadelphia 76ers. In honor of this momentous occasion, we've decided to take a look back at the last Nets team to make the NBA Finals: the 2002-03 New Jersey Nets, who went 49-33, won ten consecutive playoff games at one point, and lost in six games to the San Antonio Spurs. That team stood in stark contrast to this year's playoff-bound Nets: the Jason Kidd-led roster ranked first in the NBA in defensive efficiency and 11th in pace, taking down opponents both by grinding out victories and by pushing the break. There are some names old Nets fans may recognize (Lucious Harris, Aaron Williams), as well as names current Knicks fans will recognize (Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin).

It's been a decade since that New Jersey Nets team went as far as any NBA Nets team has ever gone, so we decided to ask: where are they now?
 
Start Here...

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Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks, Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets

Stephon Marbury & Jason Kidd... Two players who have seen both sides. (AP/Bill Kostroun)

In whatever superlative you'd like to assign it -- the Battle for New York, Battle of the Boroughs, the Nets' arrival on the New York stage, or just another game -- the ex-New Jersey/now Brooklyn Nets take on the New York Knicks tonight, in Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This game has added meaning like few Nets-Knicks games have had before, but these two have had an up-and-down rivalry since the Nets joined the NBA in 1976.

Let's take a look through the history of the Nets-Knicks rivalry: from its origin, through the decades and playoff matchups, through the players that have seen both sides, and finally to today: the "Blueprint for Greatness" era.

The origin story
The 1980s: Waves of excellence in a sea of obscurity
1983: The first playoff battle ends in defeat
The 90s: what could have been
Playoffs: '94's and Heartbreak

The Nets take center stage
Nets sweep at last

The Blueprint for Greatness

The origin story

... MORE →

 

Keyon Dooling New Jersey Nets

(AP/Bill Kostroun)

Keyon Dooling played for the then-New Jersey Nets for two tumultuous seasons between 2008 and 2010 and didn't leave an indelible mark on the franchise. He was known as the team's fashion mogul, a respected veteran that others admired, and a solid backup point guard, but little else. What we didn't know then is what Dooling has come forward with in recent weeks: he wasn't happy, and though he thought he had something left, he wanted to walk away from the sport.

Keyon Dooling had been molested as a child, and hadn't felt that he'd reached his capabilities as a basketball player or as a man. Most recently, Dooling sat down with Star-Ledger columnist Dave D'Alessandro to talk not about the past, but about the future: how he can help other survivors deal with their trauma in a constructive way.

I couldn't, and won't, put myself in Dooling's shoes, as I was lucky enough not to have gone through that type of pain. I can only imagine how much it's haunted him in his lifetime, and that as hard as it is to face in public, he knows he's doing the right thing. There's a bravery and honesty there that's impossible not to respect.

From the D'Alessandro piece:

If you express shock at the torment he has carried for 27 years — and the post-traumatic stress that triggered the meltdown in August — Dooling responds like this: “But I’m grateful it happened, my man — because now I have to deal with it, and now I know it’s my time to help others deal with it.”

He was driving down from Boston on Friday morning as we spoke, heading toward John Jay College in Manhattan, where they were holding the annual International MaleSurvivor Conference. Joe Ehrmann, the former Colts tackle from the ’70s — also a minister and abuse survivor — was to deliver the keynote.

Dooling wasn’t sure which part of the symposium he’d address, and he knows the details of his story are excruciating — just Google his appearance on the Katie Couric show last week — but he feels obligated to share it.

This is his reason:

“I always felt destined to do something important,” he said. “My basketball career wasn’t the one I wanted to have — I was a lottery pick, I had great potential, but I didn’t necessarily reach the level I wanted to as a ballplayer.

“But this is a time when I must maximize my potential as a man and as a human being. I know that now.”

Story's linked below. Do yourself and Keyon Dooling a favor and read it.

Read more: Star-Ledger -- Once Keyon Dooling let his secret go, it set him free to help others