True or false: the Nets actually had a few seasons in New Jersey when they were good, and they couldn’t even sell out games when they were good.
True. The Nets’ entire existence in New Jersey could be considered a “rough patch,” but in those rough patches came a few successful years — most notably in the early 2000s. The Nets pulled off a trade to acquire Jason Kidd after another lousy 26-56 season, and Kidd promised to bring the team to the playoffs. People laughed, but Kidd proved the doubters wrong, doubling the team’s win total from 26 to 52 and taking the Nets to their first-ever NBA Finals (where they lost to the dominant Kobe-Shaq era Los Angeles Lakers). The Nets made another Finals run two years later, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in six games,
In New Jersey, the Nets historically had some of the worst attendance numbers in the NBA, most famously not selling out playoff games — even in the NBA Finals. I remember going to the Continental Airlines Arena on the morning of Nets-Cavaliers playoff games with my dad in the mid-2000s and getting $10 seats, usually surrounded by emptiness.