Nets to be ‘100 percent, Brooklyn-based’ in 2015
Unveil plans for new practice facility in Sunset Park's Industry City
By 2015, the Nets will be “all in” for Brooklyn.
Our borough’s NBA franchise announced Thursday morning, only hours before hosting its second consecutive Draft at Downtown’s Barclays Center, that by the season after next it would be practicing at the yet-to-be-constructed Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center in the heart of Sunset Park’s Industry City.
Nets general manager Billy King, who admitted he would be busy working his phone during the time remaining between the 11 a.m. announcement and Thursday evening’s Draft, bragged that the Nets were on the brink of becoming the Big Apple’s true home team.
“This is the only pro basketball team that will play and practice in New York City. There’s another team that doesn’t do that,” he playfully jabbed, taking a not-so-subtle swipe at the East River rival New York Knicks, who will continue to train and practice in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Though they have spent two full seasons playing their games on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, the Nets have practiced and held media sessions in their old digs in East Rutherford, N.J.
That will change entering the 2015-16 campaign, when Brooklyn basketball moves into a 70,000 square-foot facility on the eighth floor and rooftop of 148 39th Street, where construction will begin later this summer.
“I’ll make sure I don’t spill any Cokes here,” joked Nets head coach Jason Kidd, who was memorably fined during his tumultuous but ultimately successful first season at the helm for dropping a beverage in front of the bench to gain a timeout.
According to the HSS Training Center fact sheet, the facility will feature two full basketball courts, a weight room, a training pool, a pair of hydro pools, a rooftop entertainment space, an 18-seat multimedia theater, 3,000 square feet of hospitality/players’ lounges and a media interview/work room.
Currently at 15 feet, the eighth-floor ceiling will be raised to 34 feet in order to accommodate the thousands of jump shots the Nets will take in preparation for their games, which will be one subway away on the D and N lines from 36th Street to Atlantic Avenue.
The project also will produce “at least 60 full-time jobs”, and perhaps a hundred or so more, for the area’s inhabitants, a fact not lost on the political heavyweights who lent their support to the project.
“I am thrilled to see the Nets complete their move to Brooklyn by building their state-of-the-art practice and training facility in Sunset Park and creating over 200 jobs in the process,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “And I applaud them for ensuring the local community also has a home in this facility – with jobs for Sunset Park residents, community events for young people and investments in the neighborhood’s quality of life.”
“In Brooklyn, we’re ‘Nothing But Nets’,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said before adding that he was the “Coolest Borough President from the coolest borough. … This may be Sunset Park, but the sun is not setting on this part of Brooklyn.”
Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park, welcomed the Nets with open arms.
“I look forward to working closely with the Nets to support our ongoing community work, from economic development to environmental justice to youth programming,” he said. I am committed to building a strong partnership with the team that fully integrates them in our vibrant community, which is home to hardworking immigrant families, community-based organizations and industrial businesses.”
Irina Pavlova, the President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment and billionaire Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s unofficial spokesperson, played an integral part, along with Barclays and Nets CEO Brett Yormark, in finalizing the deal with naming partner Hospital for Special Surgery.
“In about a year, the Nets will be 100 percent Brooklyn-based,” she gushed from the podium as the media throng gathered for the event marveled at the scenic views of the New York Harbor and ever-looming city skyline.
“I was smitten as soon as I got here,” Yormark admitted, recalling the Sunday afternoon he first discovered the site, which will be designed to “celebrate Brooklyn’s gritty manufacturing history while reflecting its eco-friendly mentality,” as designed by New York’s own Mancini Duffy.
Nets center Mason Plumlee, who was drafted by King in the first round exactly one year ago, marveled at the amenities for both players and visitors in a video of renderings imagining what the final product would look like once construction is completed.
“If it’s anything like these pictures, it’ll be awesome,” noted Plumlee, who was the only Nets player on hand for the event.
HSS, which has been the official hospital of the Nets for the past nine years, will also have the opportunity to host experimental events for patients and physicians at the facility, which will include participation from Brooklyn players.
“The new HSS Training Center highlights the importance of sports medicine and performance training working seamlessly and collaboratively in the approach to player care,” noted Dr. Riley J. Williams III, a sport medicine surgeon at HSS who has served as the Nets’ Medical Director since the 2005-06 season.
“As a former player and patient at HSS, and now a coach, I know the hospital provides an unmatched level expertise and care,” Kidd said. “HSS Training Center will give us a competitive edge, providing a state-of-the-art facility for our players to get ready and be at their best.”
King, who was in the process of trying to swing a deal for the draft pick-less Nets, agreed with Kidd’s assessment.
“This is something that is going to help us get players and free agents,” he said.
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