Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NYC "under new management"? The NBA pendulum swing, for the Nets and beyond

When the Brooklyn Nets beat the New York Knicks last month in their first game, Jay-Z's boast generated more than 10,000 re-tweets:
Borough President Marty Markowitz crowed:
The Nets had a great November but a lousy December, losing twice to their crosstown rival (whom Markowitz likes to call the "Manhattan Knicks"). Neither Jay-Z nor Markowitz, fair-weather supporters apparently, have seen fit to tweet about that.

Listening to Yormark

Nets/arena CEO Brett Yormark, however, has had to ride the storm.
When the Knicks beat the Nets twice, and the team slide continued, Yormark's been optimistic and defensive (and addressing "Nets fans" rather than "Brooklyn"):
After yesterday's nationally televised loss to the Boston Celtics (which included malfunctioning escalators and a microphone for the national anthem, apparently), he tweeted:
The team's slide

The Times reported 12/22/12:
After an 11-4 start that earned Avery Johnson recognition as coach of the month for November, the Nets have gone 2-8 in December. The Nets have steadily stumbled toward mediocrity, poor play highlighted by blown leads, a declining defense and Deron Williams’s comments about the team’s offense.
Yesterday, ESPN wrote:
One can only wonder what owner Mikhail Prokhorov is thinking, as a man who spent $330 million for a team that sits only a game over .500 a third of the way through the season. It seemed like Nets GM Billy King handed Johnson a roster capable of making it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals if everything fell right.
The pendulum

When the Knicks point guard phenomenon Jeremy Lin leave over the summer, there was a huge backlash, and some fans converted to the Nets.

The Knicks, despite a loss yesterday in L.A., have played surprisingly well, so their performance has helped them retain fans.

Some saw point guard Raymond Felton as a better, steadier solution than the higher-priced Lin. Then again, Lin has since stepped up in Houston, and Capital New York's Howard Megdal thinks the comparison deserves another look.

As for the Nets, they may indeed do better--they play some winnable games starting tonight.

But even so, was the city really "under new management"? Were the Nets "Kings" of New York? (Are the Knicks, even now?) Once they started losing, did the Nets' royal status change?

Remember, these are sports entertainment corporations first, however much they're presented as embodiments of civic identity or virtue. Consider this not-quite-tribute:

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