Brooklyn Boro

Irving, Nets to revive retro tie-dye jerseys in 2021

October 15, 2020 John Torenli
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What a trip!

Down memory lane, that is.

On the precipice of the most anticipated season in franchise history, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets revealed Wednesday that they will be going back to the 1990s in terms of their on-the-court fashion.

The team pleased its fan base and especially the New Jersey-raised point guard by unveiling its Nike Classic Edition jersey, which features the ever-popular red, white and blue psychedelic tie-dye design.

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“You’ve got the classic jersey that we’re paying homage to just that brief snapshot in Nets history,” said Irving, who grew up in West Orange, New Jersey rooting for the franchise when it was still playing in the Garden State.

“I’m grateful to be able to do it,” he added. “And I’m honored to be able to do it, because I know putting that on is just paying homage to the legends that came before me.”

Irving will go down in Nets lore forever if he and fellow superstar Kevin Durant deliver the team’s first-ever NBA title during their tenure here.

After missing all but 20 games during his debut season in Brooklyn last year due to a shoulder impingement, and not playing alongside Durant at all due to the former league MVP’s rehabilitation from an achilles injury, Irving is eager to take his favorite team to the top of the NBA mountain in 2021.

“The motivation for me was, I’m going to make sure that when the Nets get back to the Finals, I’m going to be part of this team, and we’re going to be winning this,” said Irving, who inked a four-year deal with Brooklyn in the summer of 2019.

Though he won’t be able to do it in his home state, Irving will be paying tribute to the Nets’ days in New Jersey as the tie-dye look first appeared on the team’s uniform during the 1990-91 campaign.

Though Irving was born in 1992, he has a keen sense of what it feels like to root for a team that has never received the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy, which LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the rest of the world champion Los Angeles Lakers raised at the NBA’s bubble site over the weekend.

“Growing up a New Jersey Nets fan, especially in the tri-state area, it was a different pride you had to have,” Irving readily ceded on the team’s website while donning the retro jersey.

“And I had that chip on my shoulder everywhere I went, because I was that New Jersey kid, sometimes in New York City, or in Philly, or in D.C., or in North Carolina, and up the whole entire East Coast, where it was big to rep where you were from, and that was the attitude, that was the mentality that I embodied.”

Since arriving in Brooklyn in 2012, the Nets have gone with a black-and-white color scheme.

They’ve also risen into the stratosphere of the NBA’s elite with the signings of Irving and Durant.

Now all they have to do is go out and win our borough’s first major pro sports championship since the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series.

Irving, who won an NBA title alongside James in Cleveland in 2016, appears ready to live up to that challenge.

Not only for Brooklyn, but for all the Nets fans who have clamored for a title since the franchise originated in New Jersey in 1967.

“When I saw us lose [the 2002 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers] in [Continental Airlines Arena], at that point, being able to go to those games, I knew like, OK, one day I think I’ve got to play for the Nets, man,” he recalled.

“We’ve got to do something here.”

Kyrie Irving and the Nets will put aside their Brooklyn-based black-and-white color scheme whenever they don their tie-dye 1990s retro jerseys in 2021. Photo: Kathy Willens/AP

Nothing But Net: The Nets haven’t just been fashion-conscious this month. They and their Barclays Center co-tenants, the New York Liberty, also took to the streets to raise social awareness and civic duty. In order to encourage individuals to complete the 2020 Census and register to vote, the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center tipped off a two-day boroughwide bus tour on Oct. 2. The double-decker bus visited specific Brooklyn neighborhoods trailing in census completion and voter registration. Volunteers from BSE Global, the Mayor’s Office of the Census and NYC Census 2020 engaged with residents to raise awareness about both the census and voter registration ahead of next month’s election. Barclays Center will actually be Brooklyn’s biggest polling station in November.

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