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Laying the groundwork in Brooklyn: on the court and in the stands


Howard Megdal, writing for Sports on Earth, says everyone should realize that, yes, it is a process, on the court and in the stands, that despite their short, 11-mile move across two rivers, the Brooklyn Nets are a new franchise in the NBA, one that needs time to jell everywhere.

Megdal writes a lot about a weekend of basketball, a win and a loss, at Barclays Center.  For him, the bottom line is not about x's and o's, but the sight of a little girl.

A generation from now, that little girl I saw clutching her father's hand with one hand and a Joe Johnson-jerseyed gray rabbit in the other with equal urgency walking toward their seats on Friday night will be buying tickets herself. She'll have stories to tell about experiencing Brooklyn Nets basketball from the very start.

Conflicts abound, he writes, between a long-term vision for the future and the need for an older team to win now, but maybe it will all work out, "an actual, logical way to go about introducing basketball to Brooklyn at the very beginning."  The Brooklyn Nets, he writes, are in their "infancy.".

As evidence of how new the franchise is, he points to the smattering of applause for Buck Williams, the franchise's leading scorer. "Can you imagine that happening to the all-time leading scorer for any other franchise?" he asks. He could have also pointed out that only around 10 percent of those attending Nets game end their night in New Jersey, the rest in New York and about 30 percent in Brooklyn. Almost as many fans walk home as drive or train back to New Jersey.

Will it work? It just might, he writes.

And soon enough, we'll find out whether Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett get one final shot at a championship, a crowning achievement to their career, while that little girl clutching a Joe Johnson rabbit will have a story to tell her grandchildren about the Brooklyn Nets, the kind of story you tell while the whole family goes back to Barclays Center and makes the building sound like Boston Garden.