Since the announcement of the New Jersey Nets’ decision to move across the Hudson River, they’ve been in a never-ending media frenzy fueled by publicists, fans, haters, and even the guy who sells t-shirts on the corner. However, that will come to a screeching halt on Opening Night when the Nets will have to put their performance where the hype is.
“It’s time for it to die down and get back to work,” said Jerry Stackhouse, 17-year NBA veteran and Nets forward. “It’s the NBA and we understand the marketing of our game and especially marketing of a new team like ours, but, at the end of the day, we have to get on the court and make it happen.”
On Nov. 1, when the Nets take on their brothers across the bridge, the New York Knicks, the Jay-Z/Barclays Center/hip Brooklyn-hysteria will end and New Yorkers will expect wins.
Most of the hype surrounding the team stems from jersey designs, the new arena, Jay-Z, and Fly Girl-esque cheerleaders; but not the roster that will take the floor.
At the Nets’ Media Day, held at the posh Calvin Klein VIP area of the million-dollar Barclays Center, franchise-player Deron Williams joked that it will take the team 8.2 days to get on the same page offensively. It may be funny now, but that’s about 7.1 days too long for hypercritical Brooklyn fans and wisecracking New York media members armed with nasty headlines at the first sign of struggle in Brooklyn.
“Atlanta is nothing like New York,” former Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson said. “Just going around the city everyone is hollering “Brooklyn” or saying they want a championship the first year. So we got to deliver.”
Johnson has $90 million left on his contract, but general manager Billy King tapped owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s bottomless pockets and brought the quiet All-Star to Brooklyn with lofty goals. Johnson is all in.
“I think we have a chance to win the whole thing this year,” Johnson said. “I’m not just saying it. I honestly believe it.”
Although you might call Johnson delusional, his head in the right place; because it doesn’t matter how many pep rallies, television shows, jerseys sold, or big name rappers have your back – wins are what get the people going in Gotham.
On opening night, Jay-Z’s crew in black and white need to come out swinging and take a bite out of the Big Apple before it bites back. The lights are bright and expectations are high in the world capital, so, the Nets need to go hard like the borough they rep or go home to Dirty Jerz.