The Times' basketball columnist, Harvey Araton, took a walk about the Barclays Center construction site with Bruce Ratner recently and heard the Nets' minority owner reflect on six years of struggle, the deal with Mikhail Prokhorov and hopes that a rebuilt Nets team can turn Knicks fans.
Ratner admitted he didn't want to sell 80% of the team and 45% of the arena to the Russian billionaire, but delays and the financial crisis forced his hand. He also defended most of his tenure as owner, saying he did pay the luxury tax and he did lose a lot of money to put a good team on the floor.
As for the future, the often-harassed Ratner thinks the Nets can attract Knicks fans, just like Prokhorov has promised.
"Slowly but absolutely surely you will have Brooklyn Knick fans, particularly the younger generation, become Nets fans, especially if they live in Brooklyn," said Ratner. "I also think it will be somewhat true for Staten Island, somewhat true for Queens and for Long Island certainly."
- Ratner Content to Succeed in the Shadows - Harvey Araton - New York Times
Essay - A Russian Billionaire, the Nets and Sweetheart Deals - Norman Oder - New York Times