Just how “Brooklyn” is the Brooklyn Nets is an acrimonious and hotly debated subject for borough residents, particularly those who live near the Barclays Center.
However, whether the Nets’ players represent the Brooklyn lifestyle is not up for argument. That’s because none of them will be living in Brooklyn this season (via The New York Times).
A Colossal Stadium for a Brownstone Borough
Of all the franchises in NBA, the NFL, the MLB and the NHL combined, the Brooklyn Nets is the only one that specifically represents a borough. The Nets are named not after a city, but a city district: one of five others in New York.
With such a unique position in professional sports, the Nets should mirror its borough’s culture. However, that just doesn’t seem to be what Barclays Center majority share owner Bruce Ratner is looking to accomplish.
With an arena that purports to give fans year-round gladiatorial-scale entertainment, the resulting noise pollution and traffic will inevitably transform parts of the idyllic neighborhood into a burgeoning metropolis in its early and most uncomfortable stages.
The inconsistent blend between the rust-colored homuncular national bank arena and the surrounding neighborhood’s aged brownstones and small stores is a testament that Brooklyn’s ethos is being changed, perhaps forcibly, by outside property owners.
Brooklyn Has to Live with the Stadium, but the Players Choose to Live Elsewhere
Several players from New York sports teams live outside the city, either in Westchester County or even in New Jersey.
However, if the Brooklyn Nets organization pledges to bring a local flavor of professional sports to the borough, one would think that at least a small fraction of the Nets’ lineup would live in the neighborhood.
As for now, that’s just not the case. While the Nets are considering building a practice facility in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that is just one of many possible sites (via The New York Times). Moreover, according to the Times, it is projected that construction would take two years to complete.
All things considered, then, what is the point of the Nets billboards draped across the Atlantic Avenue train terminal—those that personalize Deron Williams as being a family man and Gerald Wallace as having a life long love of fishing?
Why should Brooklyn care about the personal backgrounds of “their” team when none of its players will be a regular part of the neighborhood?
Granted, it can be argued that if the Brooklyn Nets have a winning season, they will be representing Brooklyn by helping to put it “on the map,” as it were.
Perhaps. Though there is still a big difference between being a genuine “Brooklyn” team that feels close to the neighborhood and a nationally renowned private franchise based in Brooklyn.
Ultimately, the Nets may don the name “Brooklyn” with a logo attached. However, from the Barclays Center to the entire team’s ambivalence to living in the borough, Brooklyn residents shouldn’t expect the Nets to have very much else to do with the neighborhood.
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