With the Nets and Knicks ready to go at it again on Tuesday, the New York Times offers two stories about the Nets, within Barclays Center. The main one is about the Nets' new anthem and how the team has used its "Brook-Lyn" refrain to stir the crowd into a chant that's now something unique in an often hidebound NBA culture.
Yes, the chant began on the road in preseason, more specifically at the end of an overtime game in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. Now, it is part of the fan experience at Barclays Center. The team's musical director, J. Period, uses the refrain from John Forte's "Brooklyn: Something to Lean On" at crucial moments to get the fans fired up. He finds that one or two playings of the refrain --and some drama on the court-- is enough to get the fans going.
For the Brooklynite Forte, it's also a repayment on a debt of gratitude. After others helped get him a pardon on drug charges from President George W. Bush, Christophe Charlier, the Nets chairman, helped him get re-started in music by financing a Trans-Siberian tour. The two have been friends since prep school.
Jamie Lohr hears a lot of the chant on YES in Syracuse and a friend recently took to a Nets game in Brooklyn, his first at Barclays. He and the friend are the latest to be profiled on the Times' Section 15 series about fans who find themselves in the section near the east end of the arena.
Lohr says he started watching the Knicks and Nets in the late 1990's when the Nets were down. He didn't want to be bandwagon fan so he chose the Nets as his favorite. He's stuck with them through it all and says he's staying true. As for the Knicks? "I don’t like them," said Lohr.
So what chance do the Nets have to catch up with Knicks? After visiting Barclays, a reporter for Stadium Journey Magazine writes about the role of the arena in this process...
Everything about the venue calls out to the fans; the openness of it, the experience as soon as you enter the doors and the connection that the Nets are creating, in hopes of pulling in fans.
How long will this last and will the games mean anything when the Knicks and the Nets square off on the hardwood? If the Nets suffer the same fate of other rivalries around the metropolitan area, they could easily be cast in the shadow of the Knicks. But if any team has the potential to overcome the obstacles in front of them, including the reputation of a storied franchise such as the Knicks; it’s the Brooklyn Nets.