After the years of construction along Flatbush Avenue, the day has come. Well we all know the official opening day to the public for the Barclays Center is the Jay-Z concert debut on September 28, but September 21 is just as important. It’s the ribbon cutting ceremony where Brooklyn can officially say “Welcome Home” to the Brooklyn Nets and get ready for months of upcoming concerts. From reggae, to gospel, to Barbra Streisand, there’s a lot happening on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenue before the end of the year.
Brooklyn has a lot of pride for its borough, so to have a home team makes us as arrogant now as Bronx residents for the Yankees and the few loyal Queens residents for their beloved Mets. Except we’re better because the name BROOKLYN will be donned on the team jerseys, something that hasn’t been done since the Brooklyn Dodgers left the borough in 1957, before my mother was even born.
As a basketball lover and die-hard Brooklynite, I may get a little misty eyed watching the first game when they call out players Joe Johnson and Deron Williams and the rest of the starting five to the court to introduce the Brooklyn Nets team for the first time in their home arena. To be honest though, I wasn’t really a fan of the location. I drive down Flatbush Avenue everyday to get on the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge to venture outside my home turf and the congestion all the way from Grand Army Plaza to the bridge ramp is so horrendous I foreshadowed the mayhem in the coming weeks ahead on the nights of games and sold-out concerts. However, I live a short three stop train ride away from the Atlantic Avenue train station, a station that can connect to anywhere except Tallahassee, Florida. So being in close proximity to where I live when I do want to attend events there is a plus for me. And Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Park Slope are some of the most popular Brooklyn neighborhoods as of recent, so in that retrospect, it all makes sense why it’s there. Besides, who am I question developer Bruce Ratner and Nets owner Mikail Prokhorov and Borough President Marty Markowitz?
Before the first pre-season game against the Washington Wizards take place on October 15, it would behoove of you to check these 50 interesting tidbits about the team. Let’s just hope all this hometown excitement can reignite the Nets, who doesn’t have the best track record in the league, to get them to at least break even for their debut season. I’ll even grab a t-shirt across the street from Modell’s for good measure to show my team spirit. So where will my loyalty for the NY Knicks go now? Hmmm, decisions, decisions…