Zgoda's Sunday NBA insider: Nets are trendy in new home

  • Updated: November 3, 2012 - 11:18 PM

The team's home base moved only a few miles, but the new location suggests a universe of opportunities.


Brooklyn Nets guard C.J. Watson brings the ball downcourt against the Washington Wizards during the fourth quarter of their NBA preseason basketball game at Barclays Center

Photo: Kathy Willens, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves assistant coach Bill Bayno grew up in the village of Goshen 55 miles north, but he considers New York City and its boroughs his second home because of all the time he spent playing in the projects of Brooklyn and because of the "million friends" he has there, now picking up their lives after superstorm Sandy hit last week.

He played outdoors in the Coney Island parks and indoors at the Crown Heights project when he was growing up and has seen Brooklyn transformed from the "wild, wild west" and a "scary, dangerous place" in the 1970s and '80s into a stylish example of urban renewal these past 15 years.

Old factories and warehouses have been converted into luxury lofts, theaters and art galleries in that time, and now a borough that by itself would be the nation's fourth-largest city behind only the other New York boroughs, Chicago and Los Angeles welcomes back professional sports.

It arrived Saturday officially -- delayed two days by Sandy -- for the first time since the Brooklyn Dodgers bolted for California in 1957, a devastating move that quite possibly plunged Brooklyn into despair for decades.

The New Jersey Nets are now the Brooklyn Nets, and the Wolves on Monday will play the second regular-season game at Barclays Center, the $1 billion new home to a reborn franchise that has a new name, a new logo and a brand-new vibe.

"It's only mere miles, but the mentality is completely different," said Nets center Brook Lopez, who played his first four seasons with the franchise in New Jersey's swamplands and forgotten downtown. "We are in the city now."

The Nets are trendy now, with a sparkling arena and retro uniforms and logo designed in collaboration with part-owner Jay-Z.

"Brooklyn's just a great, cool spot now," Bayno said. "Crime has gone down. Real estate has gone through the roof. I just love New York for the diversity. It's like being in Madrid or Rome; every ethnicity you can think of lives there. There's just this energy."

And if the New Jersey Nets throughout their history have lacked something, it's a collective sense of energy, perhaps even when Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin led them to the NBA Finals a decade ago.

Now the franchise arrives in a place that gave the world Mae West and Rita Hayworth, Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, George Gershwin and Marvin Hamlisch, Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee and many more.

The borough also has given the game of basketball Red Auerbach, Larry Brown, Bernard and Albert King, Carmelo Anthony, Stephon Marbury and former Timberwolves guard Sebastian Telfair, among others.

"Brooklyn always has been a sports town, especially with young kids," Bayno said. "You've got great basketball there, great, young players, playground legends. High school basketball has always been great there."

And now Brooklyn has its own NBA team, a suddenly rebuilt one that now has the league's second-highest payroll, funded by Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov at a cool $85 million.

A season ago, the Clippers proved there indeed is another team in Los Angeles.

The Nets could do the same in New York, the town Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jason Kidd call their basketball home.

"I love what they've done in Brooklyn," TNT analyst Charles Barkley said. "The Brooklyn Nets are the best team in New York."

  • related content

  • Jerry Zgoda's short takes

    Saturday November 3, 2012

    The Timberwolves get an early look at the new, beefy Atlantic Division with games Sunday at Toronto and Monday at Brooklyn, where the Nets and their $85 million payroll --...

  • The Wolves' week ahead

    Saturday November 3, 2012

    Sunday: 5 p.m. at Toronto (FSN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 77 4th Qtr 9:41
Phoenix 88
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 2 3rd Prd
Los Angeles 2
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 47 2nd Half 15:48
Washington 27
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question