They are regularly heard on national television and not just at Barclays Center. National and local TV announcers have taken notice of the Brooklyn Brigade at Madison Square Garden when Cam Thomas buried a 29-footer and the hopes of Knicks fans. They were well heard in an otherwise silent Spectrum Center when the Nets ran the 76ers out of the gym.
After the Philly game, Kevin Durant (the best player in basketball) took note of their cheers and chants not one but twice.
First in the TNT post-game...
“It just felt good, quieting all them down midway through the game,” said Durant looking at fast departing Philly fans. “Near the end, it was very quiet. “We didn’t hear any Ben Simmons chants from the Sixers fans. It was more Nets fans than anything. So it was good.”
Then, when talking to the media afterwards, he again singled out the Nets fans who made the trip...
“Our fans traveled,” said KD. “It was pretty remarkable to see Brooklyn fans because the label on us is that we don’t have any fans. So hear them in a huge arena like this, fighting against another energetic crowd, like the Sixers fans. I’m starting to see it more and more. last couple of years since I’ve been here. that fans are starting to travel. We’re going to need that going forward.”
They are part of the Nets advantage, their lungs amplifying their often witty language. It is, as we’ve noted before, a motley crew with fans from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey. There’s an investment manager, a hospital logistics manager, a physical therapist, an NYPD beat cop. an IT manager, a teacher, a retired couple, etc., etc.
They’ve even become notorious, like at the Cam Thomas Dagger Game when MSG security kept not one but two unsmiling plainclothes guards in the stairway next to the section they occupied. Too rowdy.
More than one Nets player said they could hear the Brigade on the bench despite the group being stuck up on the second level of the Garden nowhere near where the Nets players sat.
Now, in their 10th season, the Brigade is getting national exposure. Broadcasters understand that like their Dodger predecessors, Nets fans are passionate and part of the game. The Brooklyn Dodger Sym-Phony Orchestra and Howlin’ Hilda have nothing on the Brooklyn Brigade ... and Bobby Edemeka
Witness the ESPN interview of Edemeka, the Brigade founder who worked with the Nets to set up the Brooklyn Block in Section 1 at Barclays. In case you didn’t know, the tweet was was posted by @BKN3, the account of Bobby’s three younger brothers, the Edemeka triplets. (There’s also a sister, DeeDee, who’s been the group’s photographer!)
Allow us to brag on our big brother, Bobby, founder of the @BrooklynBrigade, on his interview w/ESPN's Hoop Streams.— BKN3 (ramping up) (@TheBKN3) March 14, 2022
For 10 seasons he's brought Nets fans together, making their presence felt at Barclays & beyond.
Proud of you, big brother.
Link: https://t.co/NLH8s90PE7 pic.twitter.com/EqPLNKui3W
“Each of us considers it our mission to get the crowd started,” said Edemeka, the investment banker and a Harvard grad. “and in turn fire up our players and get a great atmosphere going for the hometown crowd.”
Of the group’s trip to Philly, Edemeka said, in his typical understated way, the experience was “amazing.” Indeed, it was shocking. Despite having only about 10 members on hand — the group would have been larger but the Sixers said they couldn’t accommodate more — the group dominated the atmosphere at Wells Fargo.
The Brigade has big fans inside the organization, including Sean Marks who’s dropped off cases of beer in Section 1 on occasion and who’s been receptive to Edemeka’s suggestions, as he was at a season ticket holder event earlier in the month.
On Tuesday morning, Joe Tsai tweeted out a tribute to the Brigade...
And the Brigade responded...
The feeling is VERY mutual - We love you & Clara too, @joetsai1999! We LOVE having team owners who truly care & appreciate the fanbases of the @BrooklynNets & @nyliberty!— The Brooklyn Brigade (@BrooklynBrigade) March 15, 2022
And we appreciate all the love we’ve received from the @YESNetwork broadcast team since Day One in BK! https://t.co/CZs4Y1q1lA
The group started in November 2012, the Nets first season in Brooklyn. Edemeka, a borough resident who wanted to welcome the team, went on the NetsDaily comment section and offered fans tickets to an upcoming game. He had about 10 takers and soon enough the organization — led by then president of Mikhail Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Group and and Elisa Padilla, then Nets marketing director — embraced them. It’s ballooned since then, of course. A delegation even went to China in 2019 to root for the Nets! (They organized the trip themselves.)
Of course, it’s more than just a group of fans. It’s the counter argument to those who claim the Nets have no fans. They do indeed and they are very very loud.