It was well-meaning, of course. The Mayor of the city of New York, Bill de Blasio, wanted to draw attention to the Nets efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated, but, but... Well, a picture is worth a thousand words ... and maybe a million memes.
THIS JUST IN: guess who’s joining us to set up a #COVID vaccine site outside @barclayscenter?— City of New York (@nycgov) May 18, 2021
Thank you to the @BrooklynNets for getting in the game to get New Yorkers vaccinated. Tune in for more. https://t.co/vL7jQKHX9N pic.twitter.com/7vC29uu8bs
“The Nets are stepping up for Brooklyn, for all of New York,” de Blasio said wearing his James Harden jersey and a brand new Nets cap. “This is going to be another extraordinary effort to get everyone vaccinated.
“This is going to be amazing, an amazing opportunity to see one of the greatest teams in a long time, and a team that’s going to bring glory to Brooklyn and New York City.”
BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi, who appeared with de Blasio, said the Nets are setting up a pop-up vaccination site at the abandoned Modell’s sporting goods store across Flatbush from Barclays Center. It will be open the day before and the day of Nets games throughout the NBA playoffs which begins Saturday.
Appointments can be booked via NYC’s COVID-19 vaccine finder website, where the site will be listed as “Barclays Center: Modell’s”. Walk-in appointments will also be available, city officials said.
Abbamondi also disclosed that most sections of Barclays will be set aside for vaccinated people and just a “handful” of physically distanced seats for the unvaccinated. Abbamondi said the Nets would try to get “as close to full capacity” as possible for the playoffs.
But it was the image, not the good intentions, that dominated the news cycle and social media. It became an instant classic. The New York Post, not a fan of the two-term mayor who is not running for re-election this November, excoriated de Blasio. The Post called his Nets gear “awkward attire” and “ridiculous.” It even said de Blasio reminded some of Steve Buscemi’s famous “30 Rock” scene in which an undercover detective tries go undercover at a high school, dressing in a backwards baseball cap, and asking “How do you do, fellow kids?”
The Post was not alone.
“The last thing you see before you’re priced out of your neighborhood,” quipped The Daily Show in describing the image.
“Brooklyn Nets fan final form,” joked “Desus & Mero” writer Robert Kornhauser.
Conservative pundits and politicians, among them Sean Hannity and gun-toting freshman congressperson Lauren Boebert, took to Twitter to make fun of de Blasio (and by extension the Nets!)
Some Nets fans (okay us too) shook their collective head and wondered if the mayor was jinxing the team.
The mayor, who lives in Brooklyn when not at Gracie Mansion, took it well.
Ya know what they say, dress for the job you want! https://t.co/RLutSuYfGv— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 18, 2021
De Blasio said he expects the Nets will go deep into the playoffs. If so, the joke will be on those who made fun of the mayor. He will have the last laugh.
“Providing Nets fans and our community with quick and convenient access to vaccines is crucial in continuing to open both our arena and local businesses safely. We appreciate the Mayor’s office and DocGo for making this important initiative possible,” said Mandy Gutmann, SVP of Community Relations and Communications, BSE Global.
- Get vaccine, win Brooklyn Nets tix, says ridiculously dressed De Blasio - Nolan Hicks & Sam Raskin - New York Post
- Bill de Blasio courts internet meme-dom with Brooklyn Nets ensemble - ESPN
- Bill de Blasio Wears Nets Gear to Press Conference, Promptly Gets Roasted - Michael Shapiro - Sports Illustrated
- New York mayor Bill de Blasio wore a Nets jersey to a press conference, and Twitter had so many jokes - Henry McKenna - USA Today
- Get Vax, Go to Playoffs: NYC Mayor Wears Nets Gear in Unusual Fashion - WNBC
- As de Blasio touts Brooklyn Nets, he becomes a meme; team partners on vaccination, with drawings for playoff tickets - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report
- What a doofus! NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio gets dunked after donning Brooklyn Nets basketball jersey under his shirt to announce new COVID vaccination site - Holden Walter-Warner - Daily Mail