Although the Brooklyn Nets have a rapidly growing fan base, they will never replace the Knicks as New York’s basketball team. But that’s not entirely a bad thing.
With the Brooklyn Nets franchise finally trending in the right direction, you’re seeing more and more Nets fans coming out of the woodwork. You’re seeing battles between Nets Twitter and Knicks Twitter.
However, the New York Knicks are the New York Knicks and will always be New York’s main team. But that doesn’t mean the Nets can’t be content becoming the more successful little brother.
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The Nets have always played second fiddle to the Knicks, for as long as the franchise has been around, whether it was their days on Long Island playing in the Nassau Coliseum or in New Jersey at the Meadowlands.
No matter how good the team was, they were never on the same level as the Knicks. A prime example of this is during the Nets’ semi-glory years during the early 2000s. The Nets went to back-to-back Finals in 2002 and 2003.
Even though they lost both, it was still a pretty good accomplishment going to back-to-back finals with no superstars. Now a factor in the lack of coverage may have been due to the fact that at the time they played in New Jersey, like the New Jersey Devils.
However, both of those teams were covered by New York news outlets and their games were broadcast in New York.
However, they were just considered more of New Jersey’s team, even though they played in the same complex as the NFL’s Jets and Giants, who are considered New York teams.
Once the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012, it seemed like the main goal was to assert themselves in the Big Apple and try and share — or possibly take over –the city.
But it was that mindset that ultimately played into the reason why the franchise has suffered the way it has over the last few years.
One of the biggest reasons why it’s better for the Nets to be the team in the background is it takes them out of the crosshairs of the unforgiving New York media.
Everyone in the sports world, and more specifically residents in New York, knows just how cutthroat the news media is toward the nine major sports teams in the area. These 9 teams are the Knicks, Nets, Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
However, everyone knows the majority of sports coverage goes toward the Yankees, Knicks, Giants and Jets. The other five teams are very rarely at the forefront (with the exception of the Mets) and rarely the lead on the back page.
The only time they get any type of real exposure is if the team is having an amazing season or a there is a crazy scandal.
In fact, the Nets might be the second-least talked about team in the New York sports market. Just listen to sports radio in New York. It always about what the Knicks have done, are doing or not doing.
Earlier this summer Kenny Atkinson was on the Michael Kay Show which was probably a surprise to everyone, even Nets fans. I was giddy with excitement listening to the interview on ESPN radio, as I couldn’t remember the last time the Nets had that much exposure.
However, after that interview, everything went back to normal and the Nets became an afterthought. This is what makes it so great for the Nets. For example, the Nets have been mocked and ridiculed for their infamous trade with the Celtics.
But imagine how much worse it would’ve been if they were the Knicks. If they were the main basketball franchise in the Big Apple, every week would be hell from a media standpoint as they would be ripping the team to shreds until they righted the ship.
Another reason is that the Nets can make moves without much noise being made. Look at the hiring of Kenny Atkinson two years ago compared to the hiring of David Fizdale this year.
There was so much buzz circulating around the Knicks’ coaching search this offseason because they have been starved for a legitimate head coach since Jeff Van Gundy.
When the Nets were in the midst of their coaching search, it was almost like it was being done secretly with how little coverage it received. But that’s fine, because in a sense it means a little less pressure.
The same could be said about general manager Sean Marks. It has been well-documented in the NBA media how good of a job Marks has done at working with basically nothing and turning this franchise around. But that doesn’t show in the New York papers.
When the Nets traded for D’Angelo Russell, it made headlines initially. But his season would’ve been more under the microscope if he was in the Orange and Blue instead of the Black and White.
Yes, the plethora of Nets blogs, Twitter pages and websites are all over the moves the Nets make, which is to be expected. But for publications like the New York Post, the Daily News and New York Times, these moves may as well have never happened.
The lack of constant pressure by an impatient media and fan base could be a relief for Nets players, who can be more relaxed both on and off the court.
If anything, the Nets should accept their younger brother role almost to the lengths the Los Angeles Clippers have. The Clippers are always regarded as that other team that plays in the Staples Center.
They’ve played second fiddle to the Lakers for as long as they’ve been in LA and it fits them.
During their best years of “Lob City” with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they were consistently going to the playoffs while the Lakers were trudging along in the last few years of Kobe Bryant.
At no point was anyone saying “the Clippers are taking over LA,” but they still were able to enjoy success with very little criticism from their media outlets.
After growing up around Knicks fans, it’s almost impossible to talk with them regarding the Nets. The best advice for any Nets fan is to just let the Nets’ play do the talking. Knicks fans will say the Nets will never be the No. 1 team in New York and that’s OK.
It’ll make the eventual success of the team feel that much sweeter when the parade for the Nets is being led down Broadway in the “Canyon of Heroes.”