SUBURBIA, NJ – We are in the midst of perhaps the most exciting time of the year in sports; the NBA and NHL Playoffs are fully underway and MLB is beginning to hit a stride and reveal the haves and have-nots. The ponies are gearing up for the Triple Crown events, at least the ones Santa Anita hasn’t dispatched to the great beyond. It’s a time where the 2nd fiddle teams in NY are the only ones representing the tri state area in the playoffs. Which leads to my ultimate question—will the Brooklyn Nets ever have a fan base? The Nets are perhaps the top stepchild of all teams in any league. Even the LA Clippers, the west coast’s 2nd team, features the whore emporium master himself, Billy Crystal, as the face of their fan base. The Nets? Not so much. The Islanders have all of Long Island rooting for them, plus a few random city dwellers in their fan cache (ahem Tall Matt). But the Nets? Who? I attended a Nets game their first season in Brooklyn, as it was a cheap ticket and short subway ride from my then home in the County of Kings. I counted one true fan in the crowd; the guy sporting an old school Drazen Petrovic jersey.
Everyone else there was either rooting for the opposing team or were completely clueless about the sport and were there to Instagram to their hipster friends they were at this thing they call basketball. That’s not much of a fan base. Even when they went to back to back finals with Jason Kidd in their New Jersey days, they never seemed to gain any traction on the local radar. Sure people watched the games but once those seasons passed they were almost immediately moved to also-ran status. There was some hope that moving to Brooklyn might reverse their fate, but so far their fans still don’t exist. The first blow came when Brooklyn’s own native son, Spike Lee attended a game at Barclay’s… wearing Knicks jersey. Lee, a lifelong Knick fan and longtime season ticket holder, wasn’t going to switch. And neither was anyone else. Now the Brooklyn Nets are in the playoffs, have a scrappy young team and have cap space to sign two max players – much like their crosstown rivals (who finished dead last) and… [crickets], not a peep about them.
At this rate it’s hard to see this ever changing. As a six-seed the Nets will be lucky to win anything this year and no one will notice. I wonder, however, what it would take. Maybe they go on a Cinderella run this year and Kevin Durant chooses them over the Knicks this offseason. But even then I don’t think anyone would care. Even Jay-z, who was a partial owner and helped design their jerseys, doesn’t care. It would have to take back-to-back championships and continued incompetence for the Knicks to even make a dent, and even that is a reach. No one cares about the Nets and no one ever will.
What do you think? Any Buck Williams fans in the midst?
Come back tomorrow for our Buck Williams, Junoir Blaber. Or is he more Buck Owens?