Nets Say #HelloBrooklyn! Christie Says Good Riddance
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BROOKLYN — As soon as the Nets ended their final game in Newark on Monday night (losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, 105-87), the team turned its back on the Garden State and proclaimed #HELLOBROOKLYN.
While some New Jersey fans will miss the team, Governor Chris Christie won’t be one of them. Christie told a news conference on Monday: “My message to them is, goodbye. You don’t want to stay, we don’t want you.”
Christie said that Prudential Center in Newark, where the Nets played for the last two years, “is one of the most beautiful arenas in America … it’s in one of the country’s most vibrant cities, and they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn!”
Borough President Marty Markowitz snapped back, “If I were in Governor Christie’s shoes and Brooklyn was about to lose a professional sports team, I would feel the same way.
“In fact I did — more than 50 years ago when I lost my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. But New Jersey already has the Devils, Giants and Jets playing in their state, so they can spare one. Only the Manhattan Knicks have to worry about the new team in town.”
The Nets’ #HELLOBROOKLYN campaign — rolled out on banners, including one outside Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park — sent Nets fans and the team’s spurned Jersey lovers racing to hitch comments to the slogan’s Twitter hashtag.
A sampling of Brooklynites at a DUMBO bar told Christie what he could do with his ill-wishes.
“The Nets will find their fans here,” said Philippe, an advertising manager from Carroll Gardens. “Brooklyn hasn’t had a major sports team for many years, so we’re very excited about them coming here.”
The governor “is an idiot,” said Wes, a Crown Heights resident. “I saw him on TV today — it seems immature. It’s like a little kid who couldn’t get what he wants.”
Outside on Front Street, 13-year-old Joshua, a student at the Community Green Middle School in Williamsburg, said, “It’s really insulting — and mean.”
Owen, a filmmaker from Vinegar Hill, said, “I’m just happy they’re coming, and I hope their move to Brooklyn will improve their game — but they’ll never beat the Knicks.”
The Nets played in New Jersey for 35 years. They are scheduled to play their inaugural season as the Brooklyn Nets at the new Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn this fall.
The minute the Nets’ final Jersey game was over on Monday night, the team put the #HELLOBROOKLYN symbol on its website, although the Nets organization was mum about the promotional campaign yesterday.
On the #HELLOBROOKLYN campaign and the arrival of the Nets in general, Markowitz said, “We’re just a few short months away from the exciting first tip-off at Barclays Center, and hoops fans in Brooklyn can’t wait! Brooklyn is proud home to everyone from everywhere, and now we can proudly say to the Nets: Welcome home to Brooklyn!”
A glance at those who tweeted in response to #HELLOBROOKLYN showed comments not only from “ordinary folks,” but from those such as Brett Yormark, CEO of Nets Basketball. “Thanks nj for a great 35 years,” said Yormark.
“Wow!” tweeted Stephanie Haberman. “Check out the new Nets website. Is it cool, or is it a slap in the face to their New Jersey fan base?”
A comment from “Maimonides MedCenter” said, “That’s [the sign] at our hospital! Something big’s coming to BK!”
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