Our Tearful Eulogy For The BrooklyKnight

Our Tearful Eulogy For The BrooklyKnight

The BrooklyKnight was always doomed.

From the moment he scampered down from the Barclays’ ceiling in November 2012, I doubt I was the only person who started to write his eulogy in my head.

His shiny, dead gaze and prolific black spandex stood out as such a clear misstep from the Nets marketing brains—who spent the last few years scrubbing everything sterile in a desperate attempt to create something cool. He was a goofy respite from the barrage of impenetrable sales pitches, but these Nets suffer no goofs. He was obviously going to be gone before long. As soon as we’re born, we all start our inevitable march toward death, but the BrooklyKnight seemed like he skipped the living part and went straight to purgatory. He appeared birthed from one of two scenarios: 1) a torrent of focus groups and executive meetings at Marvel left him a nondescript, disinfected puddle, stranded in the uncanny valley, or 2) one merry prankster at Nets headquarters snuck his glossy hallucination past every decision-maker by reassuring everyone that mascots don’t matter.

And mascots don’t matter. In fact, the Brooklyn Nets Brand Basketball Team just so clearly shouldn’t have ever had one. They should have stuck with the borough itself as their spirit animal—the sports equivalent of a film director spewing that trite line that “New York City is really its own character in my movie.” It’s pretentious, sure, but it’s better than having to deal with people complain about how creepy your mascot looks.


And look: The dude was a silly mess, but people overreacted here. Adults called him “terrible and frightening” and “legitimately jarring.” Relax, guys. He wasn’t these things. He was a little odd, but far from a nightmare. Kevin Garnett is scary, the BrooklyKnight was not. Grown people on the Internet leapt at the chance to dismember the dude because the Internet has no shortage of indefatigable opinions. What everyone forgot while they were grandstanding about the BrooklyKnight’s lifeless glare is that mascots are for children, and children aren’t discerning. Browse the BrooklyKnight’s now-morbid Instagram account and you’ll see kids happy as hell to be around the shimmering face of the Nets.

But now, presumably as a direct result of the backlash, the Nets enter this season rudderless, devoid of a glistening, spandexed figurehead. The NBA community has blood on its hands right now—the cold, metallic blood of a hero.

But as the season begins, Nets fans need to try to be grateful that the organization ever gave us this monumental mascot for even a fleeting moment. He was a hero who was strong and tough, who protected his house and his people. He was an honorable champion who was brave and very shiny. He was a man dressed in a polished metal mask, some tight black athletic clothes, kneepads, cool chains on his shoulders, a cape and sneakers. He blasted love and passion from his t-shirt cannon every single night, and was met with something barely resembling tolerance on the part of Brooklyn.

Nets fans: He was our dazzling mistake — a hero we could believe in, even if we could barely believe he ever escaped a Tuesday afternoon creative department meeting. He was the mascot manifestation of the Nets organization’s cocksure attitude that everything they touched could be turned from lemons to super-profitable, trendsetting lemonade, from non-event to garish spectacle. And in their own lopsided way, they succeeded.

The Nets brass ruthlessly ripped the BrooklyKnight away from us prematurely. He had so much more left to give, and we had so much more we could have learned from him. But the BrooklyKnight isn’t ever really gone. If you strike him down, he will become more powerful than you could ever imagine. He may be dead, but he will forever live on in our rattled hearts.

And believe: Every time the stadium gets a little stagnant this season, the spirit of the BrooklyKnight will be there. Every time Paul McCartney wants a t-shirt, the spirit of the BrooklyKnight will be there. Every time Mr. Whammy needs that little extra bit of mojo to cause a free throw to rim out, the spirit of the BrooklyKnight will be there.

And every time a Nets fan walks alone through the sterile corridors of Barclays, feeling abandoned and anxious for the safety and prosperity of the team, the spirit of the BrooklyKnight will be there to lift that person up from the gloom, out of the void, and into his outstretched arms. The BrooklyKnight is now endless, with a shield that extends to Heaven and a platinum smile that taunts Hell. The Nets killed the BrooklyKnight, yes. But he died so that we could live.

I guess my main point here is that his mask was shiny and weird.

I’ll end with a poem:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the court with the Knight. Many scenes from the season flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints on the court. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of the season, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Knight,

“You promised me Knight, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of the season there has only been one set of footprints on the court. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Knight replied, “The games when you have seen only one set of footprints, my team, that is when I carried you.”