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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Yes, more Nets live in Brooklyn. (And the practice facility helps.) But we're a long way from Dodger-land.

Joe Vardon of the Athletic wrote 1/10/20 The boys are back in town: How Nets coaches and players live among Brooklynites, like the Dodgers of old, describing how Nets coach Kenny Atkinson lives in "charming Cobble Hill," and various players live in other neighborhoods, with good access to the team's practice facility in Sunset Park.

That's unlike the New York Knicks, whose players have to travel to Westchester to practice.

Writes Vardon:
Atkinson is the first coach of a major pro team to live in Brooklyn since 1958 — when Walter Alston managed the Dodgers before they moved to Los Angeles. Like Alston before him, Atkinson walks among Brooklyn’s people because he’s become one of them. The same thing typically happens to the Nets’ players, like the Dodgers before them.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been seen at the courts at Brooklyn Bridge Park:
Upon signing with the Nets last summer, Irving purchased a high-rise condo overlooking the park in the DUMBO neighborhood. Durant, who got a four-year, $164 million deal before joining the Nets last summer, already had a home in Manhattan. He’s looking to buy right now in Brooklyn. They are just the two latest, richest examples of the Nets’ embrace of their community.
I'm not sure what "high-rise condo" overlooks the park, but we'll see. Spencer Dinwiddie had a condo in DUMBO that's getting finished. Garrett Temple lives in a Red Hook townhouse. Jarrett Allen lives in Gowanus and shops at the Whole Foods there.

Others eat pizza on Old Fulton Street in Fulton Ferry. Brook Lopez lived in Park Slope. Joe Harris likes Roberta's, in East Williamsburg.

An organic connection?

Writes Vardon:
But the connection between Nets players and their fans is more organic, because they all live together.
“We’ve come a long way,” said Najee Upson, 26, a Brooklynite and employee at the Whole Foods grocery store in Gowanus, where Allen shops. “The fact that they choose to stay here in Brooklyn compared to everywhere else, it’s a pretty cool experience, honestly, to just see them walking out in the open. We’re so used to seeing them on TV, so when we see them on the streets or just roaming around or coming here into the store, it’s like wow. That’s something.”
Sure the fans do appreciate it, but you can't compare fandom for the Nets, which remains pretty niche, to that of the Dodgers.

What about Bed-Stuy?

Writes Vardon:
The Brooklyn of guns and drug sales on corners, and prostitution, the one immortalized by rappers Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z. If it still exists, it’s harder to find.
“When you heard about Brooklyn, especially when I was younger, Biggie and Jay-Z, that’s all you heard about,” said Allen, who is 21. “You goin’ to Brooklyn, you’re probably going to get shot. I hate to say it, that’s all the songs were about. Now I get here and you see the past, the origins of Brooklyn, how it’s changed. It’s not how I imagined it to be when I was younger.”
That still exists, and it's harder to find, but surely findable. Parts of Bed-Stuy are still pretty rough. Much of Brownsville is still pretty rough. Ditto several concentrations of housing projects in other neighborhoods. That's Brooklyn too.

My posted comment

It's definitely worth reporting that the Nets players live in Brooklyn, given the contrast with other teams, and are seen at local restaurants and stores.

But the Dodgers comparison can only go so far, since few people--other than the departed Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, and his generation of seniors--view the Nets as some kind of second coming of the Dodgers.

In the time of the Dodgers, players were more or less middle-class, and many lived in houses in suburban-ish family neighborhoods, like Bay Ridge. They even took public transit, like the trolley, to Ebbets Field.

Today's players earn far more and are more likely to live in high-end housing. And they're more likely to steer clear of public transportation (though Joe Harris, in previous interviews, has said he takes the subway to the practice facility).

All that's completely understandable, given the changes in professional sports. It's just not the Dodgers.

Sure, the fans appreciate seeing the players out and about, but, again, that's hard to compare with the Dodgers: the team was the only game in town, and captured the imagination, and attention, of a much larger percentage of Brooklynites.

A few posted responses

From Benson S.:
Leave it to Norman Oder to try and throw water on an amazing article. He’s mad the Nets are a success.


From Kathleen S.:
Yes, Brooklyn is not what it used to be, Grinchy Norman Oder, and nobody says it is. But there is still a wonderful vibe when a team so personally embraces its community.

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