The new opening night stakes

Posted on: November 1st, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments
Jonas Valanciunas Toronto Raptors

The Brooklyn Nets take on Jonas Valanciunas & the Toronto Raptors Saturday, on an "it's all new" opening night.

On the recommendation of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NBA cancelled the opening night matchup between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclays Center. It's the right call.


 
The NBA has made it abundantly clear, in their tweets and official releases, that calling the game off was Bloomberg's call and not their own. From the NBA's perspective, it makes perfect sense to play the game: they've already made the money from the ticket sales even if the arena's half-full, and they'll still get national television ratings from a Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks opener on TNT. The juice is there, even if the fans aren't. Now, the league has to deal with Brooklyn's opener coming against the Toronto Raptors, shown only on YES, without any of the national intrigue. Bloomberg made the call on behalf of the city, not on behalf of the league.

Of course, from a logistical standpoint, playing the game made absolutely no sense. Subway lines are still down across all boroughs, and the human lines circled all the way around Barclays Center just to take shuttle buses from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The city is not running at operational capacity, and to imagine that 18,000 fans could somehow make it through some combination of shuttles, walkways, and cars during the post-Sandy cleanup is nothing short of ludicrous.

The game's cancellation presents a new opportunity and challenge to the Nets. Like with the Knicks, one game won't change the entire scope of a city. But with the Knicks' new opener allegedly still on against the defending champion Miami Heat, the Nets are facing what most consider to be a clearly inferior team in the Toronto Raptors. Without the hype of the "WHO WINS NEW YORK!?" juice behind it, they have to prove that the Brooklyn brand can stand on its own, beyond the Battle of the Boroughs rivalry. They also have to prove that the roster, famously put together this offseason to make this team legitimately competitive, can in fact shine through when faced with inferior opposition.

The Nets aren't going to come together overnight. The Barclays Center may not be rocking as much as it might for a Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks contest. But it will be a night solely dedicated to the birth of a franchise, and an opportunity for the Nets to start off on the right foot without the direct burden of borough comparison.

Of course, if the Knicks beat the Heat and the Nets lose to the Raptors... Let's just hope that Nets-Knicks game gets rescheduled soon.

Comments

  1. avatar WynnDuffy says:

    Great decision to cancel the Nets-Knicks game. The fact that Stern didn’t do it shows just how he much he values money over safety and welfare of the fans and the people of the cities that NBA teams play in.

  2. avatar jsalkin1 says:

    That’s valid. The NBA would get TV revenue regsrdleess of fan safety or attendance. I credit Bloomberg for stepping in. And, I am still excited for opening night.

  3. avatar joshsperber says:

    I was really looking forward to the national attention that would have been on the Nets with a Nets-Knicks opening night game, but I’m still pumped for the season.