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Brooklyn Nets throw-back may be bigger than you think

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The Nets last won a championship on the final night of the final season of the ABA, May 12, 1976.  The New York Nets were playing at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island back then, a bright, modern suburban arena only two years old.  It had star, indeed a superstar, in Julius Erving ... and a uniform filled with stars too.

Now, it looks like the Nets are going to try to revive that feeling, not with a red, white and blue ball or red, white and blue uniforms.  No, it appears that the Nets alternative uniform, its "heritage" uniform, will be a black-and-white version of the ABA Nets final uniform, with stars on the side on the side, "Nets" on the front. (One difference: it might have sleeves!)

If true, it may be part of a much larger plan: the Nets want Long Island, want to reunite its championship fan base with its Brooklyn fan base.

Here's what we know about the uniform: reports that "Brooklyn Nets Adidas Pride White Swingman Performance Shorts XL" have "leaked" on EBay and indeed the EBay ad seems to corroborate an earlier report that the Nets alternative this year will mimic the New York Nets' final ABA uniform.

And why not? The Nets are making a big push this season in Long Island as Barclays prepares to welcome the Islanders a year from now. The cross marketing possibilities are endless. If you're an Islander fan on Long Islander, why not sample the Nets, their "roommates" in Brooklyn.  And if you're a Nets fan in Brooklyn (or Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island), why not sample the Islanders.

"We always said that with the Nets coming to Brooklyn, in some sense the team has gone full circle," Nets/Barclays Center COO Fred Mangione told NetsDaily. "By returning to where the franchise originated in New York and as we know Brooklyn is actually on the Island.

"The ultimate goal is to now make sure Nets fans become Islanders fans and Islanders fans Nets fans."

Right now, Mangione says, only about 8% of the arena patrons --for everything from Nets games to concerts-- come from Long Island. The Nets and arena see the arrival of the Islanders --and ultimately, the rehab of Nassau Coliseum in 2016-- as an opportunity to "grow those numbers," with cross marketing and promotion, said Mangione.

Last month's Islanders-Devils preseason game in Brooklyn also provided a test run for a another Long Island initiative: a new enhanced LIRR service on Islander game nights. There are already extra trains for Nets games, but the LIRR timetable for the NHL preseason game also included direct service from the Atlantic Terminal across from Barclays Center to a number of LIRR stations --without a change in Jamaica.

The Nets marketing team misses few opportunities. "The Nets championship banners from the ABA still are in the rafters of the Coliseum today," Mangione notes.  So a "heritage" jersey mimicking the New York Nets last uniform in Long Island isn't such a big leap.