Thursday, October 04, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Know Your Team; 1969-1972

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


1969 - 1972
Both at the gate and in the standings, the team's second year in the American Basketball Association, and their first complete season in Long Island playing as the New York Nets was an overwhelming failure.  So at the conclusion of the 1968 season, the team's first owner, Arthur Brown, sold the club to a gentleman named Roy Boe.

He moved the team from the Long Island Arena in Commack, to the Island Garden Arena in West Hempstead.  With a capacity of just over five thousand, the Nets called this home for the next four seasons until they moved into the newly built Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.  They co-occupied the building with their fellow fledglings in some respects, the NHL's New York Islanders; whom Roy Boe would also come to own.
Mr. Boe stayed in possession of the team for the next decade.  Under him, the Nets rose to the pinnacle of the American Basketball Association.  He oversaw the team's entry into the National Basketball Association when the leagues merged.  And just prior to selling the team in 1978, he  relocated the Nets to New Jersey (yet again) and into a then, state of the art arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.  How that arena later came to be despised is an entirely different matter.  Between the Nets and the New Jersey Devils however, it has seen its fair share of good times.

The Nets made the playoffs in Roy Boe's first season.  Unlike in the 1967 inaugural season when they were made to forfeit due to ongoing arena dilemmas, in the summer of '69, they actually played their playoffs games.  Then in time for the 1970 season, the New York Nets obtained their first franchise star.  Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, forward Rick Barry was acquired in a trade with the Virginia Squires.

Rick Barry only played two seasons with the Nets.  Prior to the NBA/ABA merger, contractual legalities forced Barry back to his NBA team of origination; the Warriors; for the 1972-73 season.  But in those two seasons on Long Island, Rick Barry led the ABA in scoring with a 29-point per game average in an unjured 1970 season, and a 31-point per game average during a full 1971 season.

Rick Barry led the Nets to the 1971-1972 ABA Championship series against the Indiana Pacers.  The New York Nets lost four games to two.  The following season would be their first full campaign playing in the Nassau Coliseum.  But just like that, the Rick Barry era was over.


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