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April 30, 2012

The Brooklyn Nets can scrub hard, but the Jersey won't come off

Mere hours after the New Jersey Nets' final Garden State home game last week, the team made a thorough and final disappearance from Newark's Prudential Center.

Capital New York
by David Roth

The Nets will not bring much to Brooklyn, besides novelty and hope: The current team is lousy almost by design, stripped to ease the so-far-futile pursuit of high-end free agents. The idea was to pair point guard Deron Williams, a dynamic playmaker acquired in a blockbuster deal late last season, with disgruntled Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

That deal didn't happen. Howard has an injured back and a new reputation as one of the N.B.A.'s foremost and most grandiose ego-monsters, and Williams is reportedly eager to leave the organization for less-dysfunctional climes, seemingly heedless of the fact that the Nets new arena is a short walk from both the Brooklyn Museum and Al Di La. Without Williams or Howard, it's no exaggeration to say that the Nets could be the N.B.A.'s worst team when they tip off in Brooklyn next year.

Of course, the Barclays Center—the Nets’ taxpayer-aided new arena, looming like a crashed U.F.O. over brownstone Brooklyn and above the old Atlantic Yards—is not exactly a Craigslist share off the Morgan stop on the L Train. There is that viral billboard campaign and all that Yormark marketing, and there is the chance that the team could snag a franchise-defining star in the N.B.A. Draft lottery. But mostly the Nets arrive in Brooklyn as naked and helpless as any hopeful, hopeless New Jersey emigrant.

It would be nice to wish them luck, I suppose. But New Jersey people—even those of us who have tentatively made it here, and love the place—have a thing about forgetting where we come from, and a special scorn for the sort of self-exile who instantly calls himself a New Yorker. We hear the accent, and the lie in it. Everyone else can, too. It's a hard one to shake.


Posted by eric at April 30, 2012 11:10 PM