They’re loud and they’re proud. They provide the Barclays Center with the highest amount of energy one can ask for, with chants and applause spreading throughout the stadium like wildfire. They don't fit into the narrative that has been presented about the Nets’ "sluggish" fan base. They show up night in and night out, ready to cheer their tail off, whether it be an important playoff game or regular season game of little importance. To them, it’s all about cheering for their beloved Brooklyn Nets and getting another home victory, not about self-recognition.
They are the Brooklyn Brigade, and I was lucky enough to have witnessed Game Six with this diehard group of Nets fans.
To start, to know the Brooklyn Brigade you have to first give recognition to Bobby Edemeka, aka "Gotham Gooner" here on NetsDaily, who posted a Fan Post here on NetsDaily and helped to join a number of diehard fans in what was once known as "Loud and Proud," and eventually created a foundation for the Brooklyn Brigade. Since then, it has become its own organic gathering of Nets fans who love nothing more than rooting for their home team. And that's why I was excited to get the opportunity to sit with one section of the Brooklyn Brigade, who was sprinkled about the Barclays Center providing energy from even before the opening tip.
As we know, coming into this game the Nets were struggling, finding themselves in a 3-2 hole with their season on the line. After the Brooklyn fan base having been called out by DeMar DeRozan, the Nets official twitter handle, Stephen A. Smith, and many other, the Nets faithful had something to prove to the sports world.
Prior to tipoff, Brett Yormark acknowledged the Brooklyn Brigade and their importance on the game:
Need the Brooklyn brigade to be loud tonight.— Brett Yormark (@brettyormark) May 2, 2014
From tip-off until the very end, the Brigade started chants like "He’s a flopper!" (referring to Kyle Lowry), "That’s the Truth," in reference to Paul Pierce, and of course the infamous "Broo-klyn!" chant. After reading and hearing so many negative things about Brooklyn fans being late to games, or not caring enough about the game itself, sitting with the Brooklyn Brigade their passion and spirit was addictive and tough to ignore.
Signs and white towels waving through the air, boo’s reigning down from the upper deck when the opposing players were at the free-throw line and, comically, some chants when Drake appeared on the jumbotron.
The atmosphere was outstanding all game, but most notably late in the game -- when the Raptors were cutting deep into the Nets lead. Deron Williams nailed a dagger three pointer to put the Nets up 13 with a little over a minute remaining. Williams, who has received a ton of heat for his inconsistency, was reminded why he’s still the leader of this team. The fans displayed their appreciation with a "Deron Williams" chant that canvassed every section of the Barclays Center.
The Nets went on to win 97-83, and a Game Seven in Toronto is happening on Sunday, and exactly what the Brigade and Nets faithful had in mind. They had no intention of fitting into the "quiet crowd" narrative, providing a true sixth man atmosphere.
They're a loud and proud group of Nets fans, first and foremost. They don't ask for anything from the Nets that they themselves don't give -- that being 100 percent effort.
It's a fan experience that I'd urge all Nets fans to participate in. In it you will find that they are the noise and diehards that we oftentimes hear aren't at Barclays. But, I can tell you from my firsthand experience that they love their Nets. That's what the Brigade is all about.
I was happy to be able to sit with them, cheer along and get the full experience. I warn you, though, if you’re going to get the full Brigade experience, be prepared to lose your voice. I'll tell you, The Brooklyn Brigade does not mess around!