Carlos Bugeja is a lawyer working on the island nation of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean. He is also a Nets fan (don't ask why ... it's a long story.) Today was a big day for Bugeja, not because of something that happened in a Maltese court, but what was announced in New York, that the Nets and Hawks will play a regular season game in London on January 16.
Here is his reaction ... and his promise.
Outside is dark and silent. Everybody is sleeping, but you are sipping your fifth coffee since midnight. You browse NetsDaily, circle weekend games on your calendar and you wait impatiently for 1:30AM. After what seems like ages, Ian Eagle's familiar voice lights up your laptop screen and the game starts. You're excited, and for a while, you forget that you will be expected at work in five hours. You kind of hope that the game will not go to over-time so you can get some sleep. You cheer silently, not to wake anyone up; and when Joe Johnson drains the winning buzzer-beater, you smile, tuck yourself in bed and try to sleep for a couple of hours.
That's the typical game-night of an International fan.
It comes as no surprise that the announcement that the Nets will play a game in Europe got me excited. It may not seem much for fans from the New York area, but for me, a European Nets fan, a Nets game in the same continent (albeit a three-hour flight away) is a dream scenario. Being perhaps the only Nets fan in my country, the opportunity to watch my team and be with other Nets fans is an opportunity I cannot miss. It is for this reason that I booked my flights for the 16 January 30 minutes after the announcement. Saying I'm incredibly excited is a gross understatement!
The 'global efforts' mentioned by Mikhail Prokhorov are for people like us. International fans tend to feel ousted from fellow fans in the US. When we win, we celebrate alone. When we lose, nobody is there to tease us. We don't find Nets apparel in shops. We are limited in many ways as fans. We love the team, we go at great lengths to watch games on tiny laptops and one game like this makes us feel fully-fledged fans again. Game like this confirm that the Nets are serious about reaching to us and becoming a global franchise.
So thank you Mikhail Prokhorov.
Thank you Irina Pavlova.
And thank you David Stern.
We may not be at Barclay's on January 16, but I'll be LOUD and PROUD.
And that is a promise.