It's been a taxing year. Lockout. Injuries. Dwightmare. Injuries. The real possibility of losing a lottery pick on a free agent. Injuries. Losses. Injuries. It's been a taxing few years. Outaw. Yi. Kiki. Injuries. If you've been a part of all 35 years and go back to the Rutgers days, then for the most part it's been a taxing few decades. Boe Must Go. AWOL. Whoop-de-damn-do. Trade Me Please. Swamp Dragons. All Alone 33.
But these past few weeks have been particularly taxing. "Lets go Heat." "MVP" chants for the Knick who was almost a Net. Followed by a post-game man-hug from the guy who might be a former Net. That last bit might the toughest to take. Think J-Kidd would ever offer Marbury a hug after a loss? How about Drazen Petrovic and Rolando Blackman? Or Kenny Anderson and John Starks? Brooklyn natives Albert King and Bernard King traded baskets in the '80s but I never saw them hug it out on the court. And they're brothers!
I purposely didn't go to the Knicks game because I wanted to see how YES would handle this final chapter of the New York/New Jersey rivalry. Instead of in depth retrospectives I didn't even get a post-game show out of the YES feed to My-9. Not that anything before that was DVR worthy. Yeah, YES did reveal their greatest New Jersey Net of all time. In a somewhat shocking move that honor was bestowed upon Jason Kidd who slipped past Dennis Hopson for the top spot. That minor surprise aside, the final New York/New Jersey game was given as much fanfare as the last ever New Jersey/LA Clippers game.
Coincidently, I was at that Clippers game. The Nets won on a last second shot in one of the most dramatic comebacks of the year. Despite having mezzanine tickets I "snuck" into the depleted "Loud And Proud" (Jeez, I hate that name even more than YES' Nets coverage) section for the second half. Saddened Clipper fans sat nearby. The Clippers who until this year couldn't find seat fillers at Staples, somehow had found a following 3,000 miles to the east. Without being hyperbolic I'd say about 30% of the crowd was there to cheer on the team which historically holds the worst winning percentage in entire NBA. The worst in all of sports actually. Yet, in Newark, they're hot. Maybe we are Clippers-East after all.
Things have only regressed since. In terms of road fans taking over The Rock things were even worse for the Celtics game. Worse still for the Heat. Worst of all for the Knicks. Now there is only one home game left. I'm not expecting too much of a Sixers contingency. Then again, even with Blake Griffin, I never expected to see Clipper throngs in Downtown LA, let alone Downtown Newark.
So what this FanPost boils down to is me begging. Me begging you to come out and not miss this last game ever. Me begging you to cheer. Me begging you to cheer for the home team. Me begging you to bring passion to every corner of every section of the building. Do not show up late and/or leave early. Do not go to text like that fool sitting court-side at the Knicks game. This is it. If you leave the building with a voice, you did NOT do your job. Leave it at The Rock and remember that this is your last shot. The very last chance to show that Jersey can be just as passionate as Manhattan, or Boston, or LA, or any other "global" franchise. Let's at least get this one right. Let's go out with a bang.
If you wanna cheer on D-Will that's cool but this is much bigger than a single player. This is 35 years. This is special halftime tributes and the single largest gathering of former Nets ever! This shouldn't be a sporadic fan section. This should be the entire arena. A Brick City Brigade filling up The Rock. Let's do it soccer style. All of us meeting at Newark's Penn Station. All of us gathering outside of there (even if you drive in) at 6:45 PM and walking to the arena together. One brigade cheering one team one final time.
I was there when the Nets left the swamps with a whimper. Newark needs to be different. Let's meet up at 6:45 PM and get the party started right. To quote a certain soccer team (well, for one final night at least) let's never walk alone.
If interested in making this a true fan march feel free to hit me up at: JSal@BrooklynAtlantic.com
You can find me on Facebook at the same address. Thanks!