Sunday, March 14, 2010


Let it be known throughout the land, BROOKLYN is a professional sports city AGAIN!  On March 11th, 2010 the NBA Nets, currently owned by the Borough's own Bruce Ratner, broke ground in downtown to begin construction in earnest, on the Atlantic Yards project and Barclays Center where the Brooklyn Nets will call home.  Yes Brooklyn! - We're going Pro....Again!

Brooklyn has not been home to a major professional sports team since the last out was recorded on that fateful day in September 1957 when the Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Field.  Walter O'Malley crushed the hearts of Brooklynites taking the team west.  The Borough was never the same again.  On the very site Mr. O'Malley lobbied the city to acquire in order to build a new home for the Bums stands a stark and rather insulting reminder to the narrow minded, shortsighted, aristocratic aloofness that was Robert Moses and this city administration's impotence in the face of Moses' centralized power.  There is a shopping mall at that particular sight today.  It is not my intention to minimize or mock the complex itself.  No, rather, the mall is a welcome and necessary addition to the neighborhood.  I have no issues with what exists there today in the absence of a Dodger park and the Bums playing in it.  My only matter of discontent is the subtle exterior design of the mall which hints and suggests baseball type architecture and design.  For those who suffer from "awareness",  it is a little insulting.  Maybe that's just me.

But hear me now!  While all is NOT forgiven for loosing the Dodgers to the Left Coast,  bringing the NBA's New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn is perhaps the single most best way to correct that horrible mistake born of arrogance 52 years ago, outside of bringing an MLB team back here to play.  Across the street from the parcel the Dodgers desperately wanted, the mistake is corrected more than five decades later. 

The birth of the Brooklyn Cyclones was a very special day to me and that team is now inter-woven into the fabric of my life.  However minor those boys may be, they will always be treated like family.  I believe, from one Brooklynite to another, we'll agree the Cyclones have enriched our lives.  Not just by giving us all a common rooting interest again, but by bringing us all together as Brooklynites, family, friends, neighbors and lovers of our Borough in a manner not experienced around here since the Dodgers left.  Indeed, the Cyclones have not only brought baseball back to Brooklyn, they gave us all a little pride back too.

Now Brooklyn, we get out Respect back.  We're in the National mix.  We are part of the conversation.  We may officially begin counting down days till OUR CLOUT makes it's way over the Bayonne Bridge into Staten Island, over the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn, and parks in front of Barclays Center at Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush.  Yes Brooklyn, we are PRO, again!  Say it again and again.
WE DO'D IT BOYZ!!  Fugheddaboudit!!

Head up, back straight, eyes wide with smiles gleaming - Walk tall and be proud Brooklyn.
There's a way for us Bums to represent ourselves. 
From Canarsie to Cobble Hill; Bed-Stuy to Bensonhurst; Marine Park to Myrtle Avenue;
from Fulton to Flatlands or Bushwick to Bay Ridge...
Denizens of the Borough of Kings - WE are NETS!
Very soon there will be 5 players on a basketball court, be it here or on the road,  representing US, wearing jerseys with the name of our hometown, BROOKLYN, across the front, for ALL across TV's landscape and arenas across America to witness and recognize.

This is an event which, beyond the conventional and obvious good it will bring to the community, brings along with it, Gravitas, Sizzle, National Identity (not that a Brooklynite has ever suffered from lack of such a thing), Cachet....  Name It!

In spite of the team's current record, what I am about to say is not
an exercise in stupidity nor is it dealing in hyperbole;
The Brooklyn Nets Brand
could become the most recognizable, marketable and powerful brand in the NBA and challenge for such title in the Four Big Sports moving forward in this still young new century. 
I stress, in THIS century.  I know my history.  I'm no fool.
There isn't a guy from Brooklyn in every old war movie for nuthin!
Brooklyn is on the precipice of taking it's rightful place, again, as a capital of this Nation;
beckoning a day from a century ago.  It may not be a field of green but Brooklyn, we're getting our
Court of Dreams!

To my neighbors in New Jersey.  I'm not really sure what to say.  The Nets have ping-ponged between us before.  By "US" the truth would be to say Long Island, and all due respect to youz guyz out there.  But here we are none-the-less.  Long Island cheered Dr. J and some great ABA Championships!  You New Jersey, more home to them than anyone thus far, should remain proud despite the move.  As a matter of fact, I applaud the efforts of N.J..  I hope we continue to build upon your efforts. 

C'Mon!  Darryl Dawkins,  Otis Birdsong, Buck Williams, Drazen Petrovic, Kenyon Martin, J-Kidd,
Back-to-back NBA FINALS appearances, - everyone I didn't mention and too many great games against the New York Knicks...PFFF!   Long Island?  New Jersey?  Consider us the middle.  We aren't stealing anything our neighbors in Long Island started, nor anything you in New Jersey did caring for them while they grew up.  They will just be living here as adults.  My sentiment is, Commack, Teaneck, the Armory or the Meadowlands, they our still OURS; Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey.

I am a Knicks fan; - Have been since 1975.  I do not yet understand what the implications of being a Knicks fan and the Nets move to Brooklyn represents for me.  In the city of bridges, I'll cross that one when I get to it.  My personal conflict is a dilemma for another day.  March 11, 2010 represents so much more for me though.  Today is for my hometown of BROOKLYN and for anyone from here who wanted to root for a hometown team....again.

Ground-Breaking Day
Atlantic Yards and Barclays Center

Early morning views of the sight on Ground-Breaking Day
Ceremonies will take place in the white tent.

Beyonce recieved her usual camera time upon arrival.

We waited this long, so a few more moments didn't hurt.
 Things finally got underway and Bruce Ratner stood at the podium triumphantly
 after a six year Odyssey through..., well, what developers go through; Hell.

Nets' CEO Brett Yormark and part owner of the Nets, Jay-Z,
look on as developer and Nets majority owner Bruce Ratner thanks the list of people and efforts by them to make this day possible.
Then, it was time to shovel some dirt.

Here it is...the Big Photo Op!!
Bruce Ratner
Mayor Bloomberg
Gov. Paterson
B'klyn Borough President Markowitz
and Jay-Z

While this post is more of a celebration and less about details, I want to inform you the idea is to sell 80% of the team and arena to Mikhail Prokhorov (pending League approval).  In turn, Ratner can afford to build the Atlantic Yards Complex.  Jay-Z will retain his interest in the team.  The Nets get a passionate basketball minded billionare owner, Ratner gets his project and financing and Brooklyn gets it's team.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Back inside the Q & A was under way.
Bruce Ratner was the Man of the Hour today
But it was Jay-Z who was stealing the show.

As he pondered listening to this next question,
I think he was really looking to blow out of there.
Which is fine by me as long as this 60 year old hole in downtown Brooklyn

is transformed into a new home for our
Say it again Brooklyn.
...home of OUR BROOKLYN NETS!!
How Sweet It Is!!
(jersey: Junior's Cafe)
No!  Thank You!

(newspaper clips: NY Daily News, NY Post, NY Newsday)
(Prohkorov pic: AP)
(site pictures BTB)


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