Saturday, October 20, 2012

"The Association" & "Road to Brooklyn": everyone's excited about the Nets

The first episode of NBA TV's The Association, focusing on the move and establishment of the Brooklyn Nets, aired recently, and several excerpts are available online.

In the first excerpt, Brooklyn-born narrator Michael Kenneth Williams, the actor who played Omar on The Wire, delivers borough cred, declaring, "I don't say I'm from New York, I say I'm from Brooklyn.... There's a spirit, when you come from Brooklyn." (Like at the Flea?)

"I'm proud that we got a sports team again," he states, continuing that conflation of local residents with team owners. "Man, this thing's gonna bring so much pride to our borough."

In the second excerpt, team GM Billy King is shown working "to build a team worthy of the new arena" (and to deliver butts in the seat).

We see him working through the pursuit of superstar Dwight Howard and the successful recruitment of star guard Joe Johnson, the news of which was loyally delivered to team mainstay Deron Williams first, to keep in him Brooklyn. (Unmentioned: whether Johnson's overpaid.)

In the third excerpt, Coach Avery Johnson declares his excitement about the relocation and rebranding.

Introducing Johnson to Brooklyn

In the fourth excerpt, people on the street offer their interpretations of "Brooklyn," including "heart, determination, it's tough, fire."

Narrator Williams describes how the Arkansas-raised Johnson is introduced to Brooklyn by ur-Brooklynite Rosie Perez. (Unmentioned: Perez's longtime support for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.)

"To me, the beauty of the neighborhood is not the tree-lined blocks, or the brownstones," Perez declares, "it's the beautiful people, it's the warm people, it's the real people." So she takes him to--where?--DeKalb Avenue in Clinton Hill, it looks like, then Gleason's gym.

"I just love how people are so real with him," Perez declares.

"He goes," relates Perez, imitates Johnson's molasses Arkansas accent, "You just say whatever comes to your mind and I go, Welcome to Brooklyn, get used to it." She dissolves in a cackle.

A debate on NetsDaily

Some fans, especially long-termers, are a little dismayed by the Brooklyn push. One wrote:
I don’t like the Brooklyn thing being pushed on me and I hope it becomes more basketball oriented.
I prefer to still think of them as the Nets. Even when they played in NJ, they were just The Nets to me. Brooklyn means nothing to me. My family is from the Bronx. All this Brooklyn hype was good marketing, but at some point it needs to expand because they are alienating everyone else.,. It peevs me that our home jerseys don’t say Nets. I have no reason to rep Brooklyn by wearing a shirt or jersey that says nothing other than Brooklyn.
Road To Brooklyn: Ball So Hard

The second episode of the web series on Jay-Z's YouTube channel--the first, remember, told us that "it's a win-win"-- tells us that streetballers from Rucker Park in Harlem to the Dean Playground in Prospect Heights are, unsurprisingly, excited about a pro team in their borough.



"It means a lot to Brooklyn," pronounces street baller Shaquille Stokes. "The community might come together, and be all as one"--instead of being Knicks fans.

Street ballers--including "White Chocolate," who sounds like the street-iest white guy you'd ever meet--also are uniformly supportive of Avery Johnson as coach.

"What do the streets think of Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets' new owner?" "I mean, money talks, and he's ready to invest, and that's always a positive: invest in Brooklyn," says one. (Didn't Cornel West call him a "gangster"?)

Would you believe that a lot of street ballers would like to play for the Nets? And that it's going "to shine a light," bring hope to Brooklyn, and inspire parents?

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