Nets CEO Brett Yormark and GM Billy King Talk Brooklyn Move: “We Want To Own This City”

Brett Yormark (center). (AP)
Brett Yormark (center). (AP)

You heard the quote on sports radio already: “I want to own this City.”

Yormark’s quote came as part of a panel this week: “Striving For Excellence: Building an Elite Sports Franchise and Team” that was featured in the Sport Business Summit by Leaders in Manhattan. The Bergen Record’s John Brennan recapped the panel that featured team President Brett Yormark and General Manager Billy King.

The panel dug far deeper into the Nets than a contentious quote. On branding, Yormark said:

We want to align as much as possible with “brand Brooklyn” going forward. You’ll see us evolve as a performance brand, and where Brooklyn was absolutely critical in our success. So it’s Brooklyn and beyond now, is what we’re trying to do from a marketing standpoint.


Yormark touched briefly on his reaction to losing, a once well-publicized shortcoming during the Nets’ 12-70 season.

[Yormark] was “all-in” on wins and losses. Yormark later went to work at NASCAR, where the quality of the event, attendance, and TV ratings determined success – not which driver won. He said he told himself that if he ever went back to team sports, he would try and remember that.


“At the end of the day, we’re selling a product – entertainment. And winning validates what you’re selling day-to-day,” Yormark continued.

The controversial comments came in context below:


The only thing that gets me is – this market is very competitive. As much as I say we don’t compete against the Knicks or the Garden, we do. That’s the reality of it. I’m opportunistic, right? They’re struggling, and – it’s going to be cyclical. So I want to own this city. That’s critical for us. I think the way you own it is by winning and getting to the playoffs this year.

GM Billy King gave insight on what he wants to see from the team and how a NBA franchise can gain success.

If the players are willing to believe that the team is bigger than them, then you’ve got something special. Everybody wonders why San Antonio wins. It’s because Tim Duncan doesn’t really care about Tim Duncan – he cares about the San Antonio Spurs winning. [Coach Greg] Popovich doesn’t care about Pop, he wants the Spurs to win.

He speculated that the Nets’ slow starts may stem from coaching changes and a lack of consistency. King shared the following on his draft philosophy:

If I’m drafting late in the first round or in the second round, I look for ‘four year players’ [college seniors.] A lot of people think those players don’t have potential – they’ve already maxed out.

Players like Plumlee, King pointed out, show the value you can get drafting seniors. King also praised the leadership of players like Garnett and Shaun Livingston.

You can begin reading feedback from the panel here for further insight on the move to Brooklyn, King’s thoughts on Lionel Hollins, and how the franchise approaches a trade.

John Brennan, The Bergen Record, Meadowlands Matters Blog