BROOKLYN, NY – So I fly in from Chicago Wednesday morning, and the corporate travel whiz we employ thought she was doing a helluva job for the company by saving about 32 bucks by having me fly into… Newark Airport. Christ… I didn’t even know there was an airport in Newark! Hell, I wouldn’t have even been aware that Newark existed unless I had seen “Goodbye, Columbus” years ago. Yeah -that’s my one weak allusion to the Buckeyes of THE Ohio State University. Their National Title will enable the admissions folks in Columbus to further water down academic requirements for their scholar athletes.
I looked forward to taking my kids to their very first Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center last night. I had never been to the Nets 2 year old home on Atlantic Avenue either, so we were all anxious to enjoy the new arena. Also the chance to watch a basketball team that resembles the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s compared to the inexcusable crap that the luckiest NBA Coach ever has assembled at the Garden was exciting too. Phil Jackson has this whole Zen nonsense going. He’s built a faux legacy of being a Svengali like master of coaxing the very best out of his players. Charles Barkley had the best comeback a couple of weeks ago. Charles had been chiding Jackson on the air for the disaster of a team he’d assembled here. Jackson-ever ultra sensitive took exception to his comments. He fired a tweet back at Barkley in which the Zen guy painstakingly laid out the 5 pillars of the mystical triangle offense. Barkley responded by telling Jackson that he was familiar with at least 4 of those pillars. Those 4 pillars according to Sir Charles, were Jordan, Pippen, Shaq and Kobe Bryant.
My kids and I made it to Barclays Center in time for tip off against the huge Memphis Grizzlies. What struck me however was the Barclays Center itself. As I mentioned, it was my first visit and I have to say, it is the worst arena in all of sports. The security lines just to enter the building were LaGuardia-like. It took 39 minutes to get from the street to inside the actual arena. What we found was that this monstrosity hard by the Atlantic Terminal, was built and designed by pre-Samuel Gompers architects, in which safety and comfort were after-thoughts.
The corridors were creepily reminiscent of both Shea Stadium and Nassau Coliseum in the ’80s when they would draw packed houses every night. Narrow, poorly lit and jam packed hallways with NO DOWN ESCALATORS! Bathrooms were in very short supply – as were air and a sense of feeling safe. It took us 35 minutes at halftime to descend one level. And the seats themselves? Based upon the arena’s seating chart, these seats appeared to be decent. The seating chart is wrong. We were literally one mile high. This building was built straight up, as though shoe-horned into a jam packed urban neighborhood. Oh, wait…never mind.
As a kid I recall being scared straight by grandstand seats near the flags atop Shea. These seats at the Nets game? Twice as high. Plus, all the douche bag hipsters brought their beards and fake laughs.
The Barclays Center is NOT a state of art 2015 NBA arena. I will call it what it is and think twice before returning.
This arena is the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory of the NBA.
Different Matt, who keeps his tweets to himself, tomorrow.