Kenny Anderson grew up in Lefrak City in Queens, went south to Georgia Tech and was happy to be drafted No. 2 by the New Jersey Nets in the 1991 NBA Draft. He played four-and-a-half years in New Jersey, a time of hope, upheaval and tragedy.
Now 49, he tells Ian Eagle in a “YES, We’re Here” video to air Wednesday that no matter how sweet it was to be close to family in New Jersey, it would have been oh so much sweeter in Brooklyn.
“I wish I was back playing,’’ Anderson said. “I wish the ‘Brooklyn Nets’ would have drafted me and I would have been down the block, Lefrak City. Come on, man. I just love it. Brooklyn is great. It’s great that they have an NBA team.’’
“They’re gonna be the loudest team in New York next year when they start playing back because they’ve got Kyrie, they’ve got Kevin Durant and the building right there. They gonna be awesome. I can’t wait; it’s gonna be awesome, I love it. I love to see the Nets where they at right now, it looks good.”
“I see me, but he’s a different,’’ Anderson said of Irving. “He’s better than me, man. He’s just awesome. He’s awesome with the ball, he’s clever with the ball, he can shoot, he can penetrate. He can do it all, man. He’s just an awesome player,. He’s awesome.”
Now the coach at Fisk University in Nashville, Anderson also recounted his time with Drazen Petrovic who will be featured in Wednesday’s Nets Classic on YES. The two overlapped a year and a half at Continental Airlines Arena.
“Drazen Petrovic, you know, he taught me a little just by looking at him, he taught me how to be a pro, you know, coming early, leaving late, working on things that, you know, your shot and working on your body. (He) was real quiet and I got to know him a little bit, but not like I wanted to,” said Anderson of the Hall of Famer.
As for the repercussions of his death on a German Autobahn in June 1993, Anderson thinks the Nets would have been a far different organization.
“I really believe we would have had something really, really great if Drazen Petrovic, you know, there’s no telling what would have happened with the Nets. They wouldn’t have gotten Jason Kidd or whoever, you know what I’m saying.
“But if Drazen would have lived, he would have signed a long-term deal, Derrick (Coleman) would have signed and stayed with the Nets, I would have, you just never know. But it was great playing with those guys, awesome.”
Of course, things didn’t work out. Anderson was traded to Charlotte for Kendall Gill and Coleman to Philadelphia for Shawn Bradley.
Anderson who suffered a stroke 15 months ago spoke about his recovery, particularly getting his memory back.
“I’m feeling fine, I’m getting back to normal,’’ Anderson said on an appearance to be aired on the YES Network at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. “Before everything with the coronavirus went on, I was going to the doctor here at Vanderbilt, you know once a week, every Thursday to just get some of my memory back.
“God, you know that it could have been worse, but it was just a blessing, man.”
Eagle’s interview with Anderson will air on YES at 7 p.m. Then at 7:30, it’s Nets Magazine and at 8:00 p.m., it’s New Jersey Nets vs. Seattle SuperSonics.
- Kenny Anderson talks Kyrie Irving, Drazen Petrovic and Jack Curran on Wednesday night’s ‘YES, We’re Here’ - Ian Eagle - YES Network
- NETS HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: DRAZEN PETROVIC GOES THE DISTANCE AGAINST SEATTLE - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Former Nets star Kenny Anderson regaining memory after stroke - Marc Berman - New York Post