Saturday, July 30, 2011

In an alternate universe, Nets GM Billy King, suburban Philly resident, compares AY arena setting to Chicago's United Center; sports stenography ensues

Nets General Manager Billy King, along with paid pitchman Albert King, a Brooklyn native and former Net, hosted basketball writers Wednesday at the under-construction Barclays Center.

King, who lives in suburban Philadelphia and spent a good chunk of his professional career in that city, made a stunningly uninformed comment, equating the Atlantic Yards setting to the setting for the United Center in Chicago, suggesting that the impact of the arena would be similar.

Chicago vs. Brooklyn

The United Center is located on a 46-acre parcel. The Atlantic Yards arena is located on a, what, six-acre parcel?

The United Center is located in a non-residential area west of the Chicago Loop. The Barclays Center will abut neighborhoods that have predominantly low-rise and mid-rise residential buildings.

The arena, yes, will bring changes to Brooklyn, notably event-related retail and entertainment. But there's no comparison to Chicago. (Nor, really, to L.A., but that's a different story.)

Still, the press lapped it up, as dutifully chronicled by NetsDaily, whose chief blogger, NetIncome, perhaps aiming to avoid the "Leni Riefenstahl of the New Jersey Nets" tag, did cite one of the numerous press reports of a protest by disaffected former project supporters.



In the press

Stefan Bondy of the Daily News, notorious for his article on Bruce Ratner's "vindication," headlined his With move to Brooklyn, Billy King says Nets "have all the tools" to get top free agents:“
You have the Garden and you have this,” King said. “I would equate this to the United Center in Chicago, and what this did for the area of Chicago. Or the Staples Center, and what it did to that part of L.A.

“I think this will do the same thing for this area. A lot of people fought it. But I think once it’s built, they’ll realize five or six years from now this area will be booming.”

The Post's piece was headlined Nets' new home worthy of a King:
Above all, there will be a sense of area pride, stressed Nets' general manager Billy King.

"I would equate this to the opening of the United Center in Chicago for what it did to that area or the Staples Center in Los Angeles for what it did for that area of L.A. and I think this will do the same thing for this area," the GM said. "I think a building matters. This building will give a fan base the opportunity to walk a couple blocks to a game, or jump on a subway. Brooklyn will have its own team. If you grew up in Brooklyn, there's going to be a sense of pride."
The Record's Al Iannazzone helpfully provided a transcript:
What do you think?
“This will be the first time an arena like this will be built in a New York City area. I equate this probably to the opening of United Center in Chicago for what it did to the downtown area of Chicago or the Staples Center, what it did to that part of L.A. I think this will do the same thing for this area. A lot of people fought it, but once it’s built I think they’ll realize five or six years from now this area will be booming.”
Should sports reporters really be taking King's word for it?

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