I'll start this off by stating the most important fact about myself: I am a Brooklyn native and currently live and work in Brooklyn, and am one of the growing army of newfound Nets fans. Growing up, I guess I was a Knicks fan in name, but in reality a casual NBA fan at best. However, I'd been following the potential Nets move since it was first mentioned in the late 90s (yes, it was mentioned back then), and always said that I would become an instant Nets fan once I knew they were moving. Over the past year, even before the move, I've quickly become an obsessive Nets fan. I check NetsDaily multiple times a day, I search "Brooklyn Nets" on google just in case there are interesting news articles, and 3 friends from work and I have already bought 2 season tickets to split 4 ways (section 207 for those of you who have already bought tickets). I had always been a baseball fan first, but I now am literally counting down the days until opening night this fall. I already have dreams of the entire crowd chanting "Get your taxi!" when the clock is ticking down and we're securing a victory over the "Manhattan" Knicks.
I recount this story not to bore you to tears (which I probably have done, sorry!), but to help prove a point. Come this fall, I will not be alone. There will be thousands of people just like me: Brooklyn natives who have become obsessed with the Brooklyn Nets. I have read a lot of posts on NetsDaily by fans expecting half empty games and a lackluster fan base, and I will be the first to admit that I was wrong if that is the case, but I just don't see it being true.
The main reason it seems like there's not much interest in the Nets around Brooklyn as of now is that, as some have already mentioned, it's just not in the public eye as much as you might imagine. Because, up until this week, there has been basically no advertising and marketing of the Brooklyn brand, the idea of rooting for a team playing meaningless games in Newark seemed very far removed from most Brooklynites' daily lives. Just wait until the gear goes on sale; you'll see the change on the streets immediately.
There are two types of Brooklynites who I think will be the main drivers of the fan fanaticism. In the first category are the died in the wool, long time residents; the ones who have been pining (either directly or in memory of ancestors) for a major pro team since the Dodgers left after '57. They are going to view coming to the Barclay's as a rite of passage, a grandfather to father to son type activity. In the second category are the transplants, the newbies, the gentrifiers (which, I will freely admit, my family was when we moved in in the 80s). A lot of the new residents are obsessed with the idea of Brooklyn; if they weren't, they would've lived in cheaper alternatives such as Queens or Jersey City. They will go out of their way to eat at Brooklyn restaurants, shop at Brooklyn flea markets, and engage in Brooklyn cultural activities. Yes, these people may be obnoxious, but they will definitely show up in droves to the Barclay's, and they will bill the Nets as the coolest team in America. Between these two groups, I see a lot of people viewing the Nets as the ONLY pro team they consistently root for. These one-sport fans help drive excitement and urgency around a team; they make the team more than just a pastime but OUR team.
A lot of my friends right now can't believe that I'm splitting season tickets to a team that may very well have no star power next year. I can't believe they're not lining up to buy tickets themselves. They may laugh now, but when going to Nets games are soon viewed as Brooklyn's great attraction, they'll be eating their words. So, I ask you all, please HAVE FAITH that we Brooklynites will take good care of the Nets, that we will make the team a way of life.