It was a friendly little coincidence that yesterday, the first day that the Brooklyn Nets officially existed — kicked off with a 10 a.m. press conference unveiling logos and shirts and all sorts of knickknackery — happened to coincide with one of the worst Knicks days in recent memory. (Though at least the Knicks made the playoffs to have a bad day.) It's noteworthy, though, that no one seemed to connect the two. The Nets exist in a different universe than the Knicks, and it's going to take more than being nine miles closer than they were last season to change that.
That said, their event yesterday to give out 100 free tickets to the home opener did go well, and we'll confess that we unquestionably like the logo. At the press conference yesterday, Irina Pavloa, president of Mikhail Prokhorov's entertainment company division, said the goal was to "take back the B" from the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. On one hand, this sounds silly, and it probably is, but that said, every time we walk through Brooklyn, someone's wearing either a Brooklyn Dodgers hat or a Brooklyn Cyclones hat; you'd have to think there's some sort of opening there. For all the talk of this being the Nets, it's not like anyone can name a player on the Cyclones, and we see those hats everywhere. The Nets could grab that; in a way, it's a more logical fit. We like that it's a basic black-and-white color scheme — even if it's yet another damned basketball — and have always been surprised more NBA teams didn't go that route. Did you see some of the uniforms teams were wearing this year? (The Hornets have to be the worst.) Black and white looks terrific compared to that. The simpler, the better.
The problem, of course, is that you only get to do this once. We enjoyed the "No Sleep Till ... " and "Brownstone Ballers" T-shirts, and we enjoyed the "shoes hanging off a telephone pole" motif, along with the general good vibe, 'cause hey, how couldn't you? (Whatever your issues with Bruce Ratner and the nefarious ways this project was put together are, there is something viscerally exciting about having a basketball team in Brooklyn, at a base level.) But the Nets' plan, considering how bad the team is and how unlikely they are to sign Dwight Howard or keep Deron Williams, is to simply sell Brooklyn itself; the borough is the message. So, as novel as it is to see all this new merchandise, and as tingly as the notion of a sports team just a few blocks from our apartment makes us ... this is still the Nets. And the Nets only get to sell Brooklyn for so long; eventually they have to sell themselves. Right now, they're not close to that. Right now they just have cool hats and a cool shield and a cool color scheme. They're a concept. Except they're not a concept; they're a real, live team, and they're a bad one. Until that changes, "novel" is exactly what this will remain.
Until then, though: We still love the shield.