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Prokhorov says team name change is in the can, but will the change affect "Brooklyn" or "Nets"? (My bet is the latter)

Somehow one highlight in the Forbes Russia cover story (“Mikhail Prokhorov and American Basketball: Who Will Be the Winner?”) on the new principal owner of the New Jersey Nets was not translated by

Prokhorov plans to change the name of the team. As translated by a Russian-speaking reader of NetsDaily:
Q: What will be the team's name after the move to Brooklyn?

A: I can not tell you right now, but the documents are already submitted to the NBA office. The name change will happen in 2012 season.
Now that could just be a roundabout way of saying "Brooklyn Nets," which would, of course, be a name change. But there's a good bet it's not.

Flashback to May

But remember, Prokhorov, during his visit to New York in May, told reporters that a name change was possible and, on WFAN, played cat-and-mouse with host Mike Francesa.

MF: "Will it stay the Nets?"

MP: "I hope so."

MF: "Do you have another name in mind?"

MP: "For the time being, no."

Similarly, Prokhorov could have told Forbes the name Nets would remain.

Brooklyn vs. Nets

The name Brooklyn Nets, of course, was promised by Forest Ratner in a May 2004 flier (right), but Nets CEO Brett Yormark told an interviewer in October 2007 that, while "Brooklyn Nets” is the team's "working title," owners still must "validate that” with some "research in the field."

It's possible the team could become the New York Nets, which would might be seen as positioning the team as a co-equal power with the New York Knicks.

But I think it's more likely they'll keep Brooklyn as a brand. After all, the Barclays Center is supposed to have Brownstone and Loft suites, an evocation of Brooklyn. (Not to mention that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and local arena-supporting politicians would feel betrayed.)

In May, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons suggested the Brooklyn Bears, while I put my bet on Brooklyn Bridges, as it fits Prokhorov's global ambitions and it's Brooklyn's best-known icon.

Either way, the Daily News will be on the bandwagon. As stated in a May editorial, headlined N-E-T-S, nyet nyet nyet: A great basketball team needs a great new name, "The best minds in any sports bar could figure out something better."

Apparently that work has already been done.


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