The Nets and Barclays Center will debut two new neon sculptures and a new courtside restaurant, the Crown Club, this weekend to mark Opening Night — and the beginning of a week’s worth of home games — at the Brooklyn arena. The 2021-22 season mark the 10th of Nets basketball in Brooklyn.
The homestand will also feature halftime concerts during five of the games starting with Busta Rhymes on Sunday after vs. the Charlotte Hornets, a two-day viewing of a $20 million Jean-Michel Basquiat portrait by Andy Warhol at the Crown Club and the unveiling of new set of merchandise by designer Warren Lotas that’s already gotten the fan base excited.
There will be a pregame celebration for every one of the games on the plaza outside the arena featuring music by DJ Michael Ortiz, performances by Team Hype and the Brooklyn Nets Beats drumline, a mini basketball court, prize giveaways and more. Plaza events will begin two and a half hours prior to tipoff of each game during Opening Week.
The two sculptures — named “You Belong Here/We Belong Here” — have been installed on either side of the Barclays Center subway entrance on the arena plaza and will officially be turned on Saturday at 4 p.m. with a ceremony and celebration.
Designed by Tavares Strachan, the piece is the brainchild of Clara Wu Tsai. It will be comprised of “We belong here,” in pink on the front of the subway entrance, “You belong here,” in white on the entrance’s rear. The plaza has been the scene of a variety of protests and other gatherings starting with the 2020 demonstrations following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and become Brooklyn’s ad hoc town square. The theme of “belonging” is seen as welcoming that role. The artwork, sponsored by the Joe and Clara Wu Tsai Foundaton will be roughly 45-by-18-feet.
Meanwhile, inside the arena, the Nets new restaurant, in the space that was once the site of The Vault and Billboard Theater, will debut as well. The Crown Club is described as the arena’s “newest premium lounge.” The cost of entry into the borough’s latest high-end eatery? One courtside ticket to a Nets game.
The inauguration of the restaurant will feature a special two-day viewing of Warhol’s portrait of Basquiat, who’s increasingly become somewhat of a secular saint around the Nets organization. Their most popular uniforms — and accompanying court design — are based on his art. And his signature Crown motif is also the inspiration for the restaurant. (The Nets recently sought a trademark protection for a stylized version of the crown motif to be used at the restaurant.)
The painting, with an estimated value of $20 million, is on load from Christie’s, the New York art dealer. It will be available for viewing at the restaurant during the Nets’ first two home games of the season on Sunday and Monday. It also marks the first time the portrait will be on view in New York City since it was featured in the Whitney Museum’s 2018-2019 Warhol retrospective.
Christie’s will also install two massive vinyl boards depicting the artist’s work near the arena, one 12 feet tall and 46 feet wide, the other 12 feet tall and 27 feet wide, per Artnet.
For the fans without reservations to the Crown Club, the big events will be the halftime concerts and the Loras merchandise collection. In addition to Rhymes, Kranium will play on Monday, Capella Grey on Wednesday, Marian Hill on Friday and Amber Mark next Sunday.
The Nets will also unveil the custom five-piece Warren Lotas merchandise collection will be sold exclusively at the Nets’ team store at Barclays Center, Brooklyn Fanatics, starting Sunday. A new piece will debut and be available at each of the first five games. Here’s the first piece, a Kevin Durant homage...
Additionally, Webull, the “Official Jersey Patch Partner” of the Nets, will donate a total of 8,000 tickets to games during Opening Week. The tickets will be used by various nonprofit organizations and groups from New York City, “ensuring members of the community are a part of the Nets’ highly anticipated season,” the organization said in a press release.
All guests attending Sunday’s game will receive a complimentary Nets T-shirt and The Empire State Building will illuminate in black and white on Saturday night to celebrate the Nets’ home opener the following day.
The Nets are encouraging fans to wear white for the home opener on Sunday and to be in their seats prior to the 4 p.m. tipoff for an elevated synchronized light show that will take place during the national anthem and player intros. Fans are encouraged to share photos and follow along on social media throughout the week using #EmbraceTheMoment and tagging @brooklynnets.
The arena also announced new concessions, including signature street tacos from Nene’s Taqueria and cheesesteak sandwiches from Fedoroff’s. The arena will also debut the new Brooklyn Market, a food market near sections 15 and 16 on the main concourse that will feature a rotating selection of items from local and minority-owned restaurants.
- BROOKLYN NETS TIP OFF 2021-22 HOME SCHEDULE WITH WEEKLONG CELEBRATION BEGINNING SUNDAY, OCT. 24 - Brooklyn Nets
- Andy Warhol’s $20M-plus portrait of Basquiat to go on view at Nets games - Ian Mohr - New York Post