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Where Brooklyn At? Everywhere, It seems

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Bruce Bennett

It seems the Nets delayed entrance in Brooklyn was serendipitous. Just as the Nets become a Brooklyn phenomenon, with its ultra-hip arena and back-to-basics, black-and-white classic uniforms, Brooklyn has become a global phenomenon.

The New York Times Magazine wrote Sunday of how Brooklyn has "morphed from a landmass to a global phenomenon." It doesn't mention the Nets or Barclays Center, just how Brooklyn has become a "brand," associated with French fashion, "the center of cool for Swedes right now," and the new name for "sections of Nashville, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and somewhat more alarmingly, Paris, London, Stockholm and Berlin." Indie bands gravitate to Brooklyn; the trendiest new urban cable show, "Girls" is set there.

Can the Nets take advantage of this? Helllllo, Brooklyn. Helllllo, Brett Yormark. Nets Brooklyn gear is now in the top five of NBA merchandise. Tyrel Kirkham, the Nets merchandising director, recently told Nets Magazine on YES about one reason: the simultaneous, synergistic marketing surge of the Nets ... and their home borough.

"Here in Brooklyn, we're in a luxurious position where we have not only a team but a borough we can support our merchandise with and fans have been very receptive to that. Not only are we bringing in Nets fans, we're also bringing in fans of Brooklyn. We love the concept. The borough loves it and we're embracing it for all it's worth ...

"I'm out of town. I see Brooklyn Nets gear everywhere. Where we're heading? It's definitely for that lifestyle brand and the more we move toward becoming a lifestyle brand, the more the global appeal we'll have. And again, we'll continue to grow and we will capitalize on this Brooklyn movement, which is very exciting."

The numbers indeed tell a story.

"We were bottom dwellers for the last couple of seasons," noted Kirkham (without noting New Jersey Nets gear even fell behind that of the Seattle Supersonics gear last season.) "With the launch, we quickly crept , moved, into the top five. With the initial launch, we were No. 1 in sales and during the season thus far, we've maintained a top five ranking."

So that "Where Brooklyn At?" feature on YES has legs.