The game itself was all about black-and-white. The Nets won easily and in the stands and outside the O2 Arena, it was about black-and-white as well. Nets gear --or "kit"-- dominated and in comments around the city and "The City," as the London financial district is called, Brooklyn overwhelmed Atlanta.
Brett Yormark, who along with Irina Pavlova is charged with carrying out Mikhail Prokhorov's global vision for the franchise, told Andrew Keh early in the week that Great Britain as well as Russia ("Obviously") and China ("Everyone needs to be in China.") are the biggest targets overseas. Why Britain? Because of the presence of so many partners and sponsors, led by Barclays. The Nets, as they did three years ago, spent a morning at Barclays Bank, meeting with bank officials. As an added touch, Yormark and Billy King brought along Mason Plumlee, who had interned at Barclays in wealth management.
Yormark tweeted it all went well.
Big win in London . Very successful trip.
— Brett Yormark (@brettyormark) January 16, 2014
"The Brooklyn Nets want to be London’s hometown NBA team and we are excited to be making our third trip in seven years to play at The O2," said Yormark, who co-hosted a seminar on the globalization of pro sports with Arsenal FC and Red Bull Racing. "The Nets’ iconic black and white identity is seen worldwide and we are continuing our goal to expand our global fan base."
There was a more than subtle interplay between business, branding and basketball. Jason Kidd and Plumlee played a game of H-O-R-S-E with Arsenal's Lukas Podolski and Lukasz Fabianski. Kevin Garnett visited the home of Chelsea F.C., his favorite soccer team, and seemed to enjoy it immensely. Jerseys were exchanged and every one memorialized on social media. No trick was missed. British Basketball delayed its re-hiring of assistant coach Joe Prunty until the Nets showed up.
Then Thursday, the stands at the game were filled with English footballers dressed in black-and-white, with two of the game's top players, Bosnians Asmir Begovic and Edin Dzeko, sporting Mirza Teletovic's No. 33.
As Teletovic told Keh, "Going to Europe, it’s like going back home." Yormark would endorse that sentiment.
- The English Adventures Of The Nets And Hawks - Billy Hansley - Deadspin