Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Empty Nets

You might have missed it. Or perhaps you made the same conscious decision that I did, which was to not watch it. The swan song of the Garden State's never quite beloved professional hoops team: the New Jersey Nets. When the Nets regular season begins next year they shall be residents of Brooklyn. Will the borough that mourned the Dodgers' departure and welcomed back Kotter embrace the Nets? Not if the good people of Kings County are anything like their neighbors to the west in Middlesex County, Bergen County or Essex County. Whether the Nets played their home games in Piscataway, East Rutherford or Newark a considerable percentage of their fan base came to their games dressed as empty seats.

A decade or so ago the Nets made back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals. In two years they won a total of two games, slightly less than the number of victories necessary to win either series. As someone who is not a professional basketball fan and who had never watched the Nets play when they were winning fifteen to twenty games a year, I made no attempt to hop on the bandwagon during their brief trip to the top of the world. Sure enough, the roof caved in on them a couple of years later. They opened the season with eighteen consecutive losses. And the rest as they say is history. A history humorously recounted by Dave D'Allesandro in Monday's Star-Ledger, a piece worth the time to read even if the team about which it is written more often than not has not been worth the time to watch.

....and because we are Jersey, leave it to our Governor to get the final word on our late, not too great and not lamented at all NBA hoopsters, "You don't want to stay, we don't want you," Governor Christie said. "I mean, seriously I'm not going to be in the business of begging people to stay here. That's one of the most beautiful arenas in America that they got a chance to play in. It's in one of the country's most vibrant cities and if they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn, good riddance. See you later."

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