Since Mikhail Prokhorov took over last spring, we’ve been hearing a lot about the Nets as a global brand. Michael Wines puts the team’s marketing efforts into context in the New York Times:
Should all of this come together in a few years, the Nets would have pulled off something no other N.B.A. team could boast: transforming a downtrodden franchise into something akin to the Manchester United of global basketball. If not, they will still be the Nets, the team that went 12-70 last season and holds the record for the longest opening-season losing streak in N.B.A. history.
(Nets CEO Brett) Yormark earnestly insists that those Nets no longer exist, and that the building blocks for a renaissance are in place.
In typical Yormark fashion, he was slinging superlatives with the Times:
“I’ve been in the business now for 20-plus years,” Yormark said, “and I don’t think there’s a franchise in any sport right now that has the type of clarity and ‘runway,’ as I call it, over the course of the next couple of years, as we do.”
What Yormark and the Nets are attempting to do is quite fascinating – though I imagine it views better as a social experiment to outsiders than it does to fans of the New Jersey Nets. For full disclosure, I don’t fell alienated by this, as I’ve lived in New York my entire life and currently live a few subway stops away from the site of their new arena. So I feel like I’m a rarity in that I still hold dear the past of this franchise in New Jersey, but I’m also part of Yormark’s target audience as someone who can physically be part of something “new” in Brooklyn. But again, I acknowledge that not all fans feel this way, and when the CEO of the team goes around essentially saying everything we know about this team’s past is dead – well, I can’ imagine that sitting well for those out there who have stood by this franchise through thick and thin.