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August 12, 2010

Nets to Change Name, and May Not Use 'Brooklyn'

Local Pols Were Counting on Boost for Borough

by Matthew Schuerman

Here's a twist — the latest in a long line of Atlantic Yards bait-and-switches gets pulled on... Marty Markowitz!

A lot of Brooklyn politicians—and local residents—gave their support to the Atlantic Yards complex assuming it would be host to “the Brooklyn Nets.” Now, they can’t be so sure.

A team spokesman, Barry Baum, confirms news reports that the team submitted an application to change its name to the NBA. The timing, he said, was in order to be ready for the move to Brooklyn, expected in late 2012. But Baum wouldn’t specify what the desired name would be or whether it would use “Brooklyn” or “New York” as the geographic name. The NBA also wouldn’t comment.

While the sports world is abuzz with speculation over a nickname change, local officials are more concerned about the geography.

"The owners from day one—the one pledge they made, beside other pledges, was that the name would be the Brooklyn something,” Borough President Marty Markowitz said. “And I don’t care what the second name is as long as the first name is Brooklyn.”

An agreement that Ratner’s group negotiated with state officials to secure subsidies they needed for the project leaves open whether New York or Brooklyn would be used. That agreement was signed last October, about a month after the sale to Prokhorov was announced but before it closed.

“The company shall cause the team to play all of its home games using a name that incorporates the words ‘New York’ or ‘Brooklyn,’ unless otherwise agreed to in writing by ESDC,” the document states, using the acronym for the Empire State Development Corporation.

Markowtiz says he wasn’t aware of the document and would be disappointed if the team chose “New York” for its name.

“I know my colleagues in Brooklyn would feel very upset about it,” he said.

But Markowitz said he didn’t see any business reason why Prokhorov would break Ratner’s promise. “The whole idea of locating a basketball team in Brooklyn is because of the Brooklyn persona, the Brooklyn brand, the whole Brooklynish thing,” he said.


NoLandGrab: "Brooklynish thing?" Say what?

Frankly, we'd rather the Brooklyn name remain unblemished. And given that there are no "Bronx Yankees," "Queens Mets" or "Manhattan Rangers," we have a pretty good idea which way this thing is going — as the locals like to say, "not Brooklynish."

Additional coverage...

Brooklyn Paper, BREAKING: New Jersey Nets WILL change name!

In the spirit of new beginnings, we’re asking our readers to send in their proposed name for the Brooklyn squad by e-mailing the new monicker to newsroom@cnglocal.com. We’ll pass them along to our friends at the Nets — and publish a story with our favorites.

NLG: In honor of Mr. Markowitz, we're submitting the "New York Bike Lanes."

Posted by eric at August 12, 2010 9:37 PM