Brooklyn Boro

Nets finally unveil Sunset Park practice facility

Team to Begin Practicing at HSS Training Center in Sunset Park, All in for Brooklyn

February 17, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brook Lopez, the longest-tenured Net, was among several Brooklyn players at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting for the HSS Training Center in Sunset Park’s Industry City. Photo by John Torenli

Brook Lopez has been a Net since June 2008.

That means he’s played or practiced at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., the Prudential Center in Newark, and, of course, Downtown’s very own Barclays Center.

But it wasn’t until the 7-foot center stepped foot inside the brand new Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center in the heart of Sunset Park’s Industry City on Wednesday afternoon that he could finally profess the Nets’ true arrival in our fair borough.

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Once and for all.

“We can finally say ‘Hello Brooklyn!’ and mean it,” Lopez’s deep voice boomed throughout the team’s sparkling practice site, drawing applause from the media masses and invited guests gathered to see the grand unveiling of the 70,000-foot, privately funded facility, which is just one express subway stop from the Nets’ state-of-the-art arena on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

“At last, the Nets are completely integrated into Brooklyn,” added Prokhorov, who tabbed Irina Pavlova, the President of his Onexim Sports and Entertainment group, to spearhead this 2 ½-year construction and redevelopment project.

“Our arena, our offices and now the HSS Training Center are all part of this great borough, including its vibrant Sunset Park community,” the Russian billionaire added.

“Team training and player development are essential parts of our team’s core values and we look forward to building a winning culture on this stunning foundation.”


At 14-40 thus far this season, ‘a winning culture’ might still be a pipe dream for the struggling Nets. But those who took in the breathtaking views of the city skyline and all the world-class amenities of the team’s new home base were certainly enthused at what this move could do for Brooklyn as a whole.

“With this new training center in Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Nets are now truly making Brooklyn their home,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This facility will bring more than just Nets’ practices to Brooklyn – 40 new full-time jobs, youth basketball clinics, internships for young people and more will ensure this is a great addition for our communities.”

Tours of the structure revealed two full basketball courts, a weight room, a training pool, two hydro pools, a rooftop entertainment space – just in case Prokhorov ever decides to ditch his bachelor status with a Nets-themed wedding – an 18-seat multimedia theater, 3,000 square feet of hospitality/players’ lounge space and a media room.

“It gives us all great satisfaction to see the project come to life,” noted Pavlova, who thanked virtually everyone connected with the project, though she remains the true “visionary” of the HSS Training Center, which was selected from approximately 50 potential sites when the search for a new facility began.

“When we got here, the only thing here was the view,” she added.

Lopez wasn’t alone in representing Nets players at the ribbon-cutting.

Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Markel Brown, Sergey Karasev and Willie Reed were also in the house, which wasn’t a bad idea since the Nets were slated to host their first Sunset Park practice at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.

“I hope all the players will love it,” Prokhorov said. “And make it their own.”

“It’s exciting to see the HSS Training Center come to life after watching its transformation the past couple of years,” added Louis A. Shapiro, the president and CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery.

“We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Nets organization, the players and fans around the world.”

With the Nets reportedly on the verge of hiring a new general manager, Thursday’s trade-deadline looming and 28 games remaining on the regular-season slate, Prokhorov picked a very busy time to announce his team’s latest move into Brooklyn.

He also had a strong message for all those who doubted that this facility would get built, or that the Nets would become such an important part of the Brooklyn community.

“Let’s go Brooklyn! Let’s go Nets!” he shouted.

Nothing But Net: Yahoo Sports! was the first to report that Prokhorov offered the open general manager’s spot to San Antonio assistant GM Sean Marks, though the owner remained mum on the matter during Wednesday’s event, except to deny actually knowing Marks. The next GM, whomever it turns out to be, will have a lot to do once he assumes the post. The Nets are nowhere near contending for an NBA title, don’t own their first-round draft pick until 2019 and will in all likelihood be in the market for a head coach once this dismal campaign comes to an end. The 40-year-old Marks spent 12 years as an NBA player before becoming both an assistant coach and team executive with the Spurs. As of late Wednesday afternoon, reports indicated that Marks would likely turn down Prokhorov’s offer. Stay tuned.

 

“It’s exciting to see the HSS Training Center come to life after watching its transformation the past couple of years,” added Louis A. Shapiro, the president and CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery.

“We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Nets organization, the players and fans around the world.”

With the Nets reportedly on the verge of hiring a new general manager, Thursday’s trade-deadline looming and 28 games remaining on the regular-season slate, Prokhorov picked a very busy time to announce his team’s latest move into Brooklyn.

He also had a strong message for all those who doubted that this facility would get built, or that the Nets would become such an important part of the Brooklyn community.

“Let’s go Brooklyn! Let’s go Nets!” he shouted.

Nothing But Net: Yahoo Sports! was the first to report that Prokhorov offered the open general manager’s spot to San Antonio assistant GM Sean Marks, though the owner remained mum on the matter during Wednesday’s event, except to deny actually knowing Marks. The next GM, whomever it turns out to be, will have a lot to do once he assumes the post. The Nets are nowhere near contending for an NBA title, don’t own their first-round draft pick until 2019 and will in all likelihood be in the market for a head coach once this dismal campaign comes to an end. The 40-year-old Marks spent 12 years as an NBA player before becoming both an assistant coach and team executive with the Spurs. As of late Wednesday afternoon, reports indicated that Marks would likely turn down Prokhorov’s offer. Stay tuned.


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