A Nets - Knicks Rivalry For Real?

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets reacts after scoring a three pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

It's been a quarter century since the Nets outdrew the Knicks in attendance. Home games with the New Yorkers often felt like away games in New Jersey. The last Knicks game in Newark on April 18 was a particular disgrace. Knick fans booed Nets players as they attempted free throws and chanted "Let's go, Knicks" and "MVP" when Carmelo Anthony touched the ball. Deron Williams called it an "away game."

Brett Yormark famously promised that will never happen again. "The nights where there are more fans for the opposing team than ours won’t happen in Brooklyn," Yormark told the Daily News a couple of days after that epic debacle. "We’ll have diehard fans that are going to grow up as Brooklyn Nets fans."

The Nets have done well lately. At the Manhattan-based NBA Store and online, Nets merchandise outsold Knicks merchandise in May even though the Knicks were (sorta) in the playoffs. Ticket sales are reportedly brisk. They got some air time on TNT's Post-Game Show. Jimmy Kimmel will be in Brooklyn for the season opener. A large van called the Nets Experience has been dispatched to the far corners of the borough, with (irregular) tweeted updates alerting people to its location. They're in Sunset Park Sunday at a street fair. Nets players have been in the community for years. Bottom line, though, it's about the product on the court.

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