SBD/July 27, 2012/Franchises

Nets To Open Season At Home Against Knicks; Yormark Hopes For A Great Rivalry

Nets' Yormark thinks rivalry with Knicks could be one of the greatest in sports
Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark has long said that the “days of seeing Knicks fans turn Nets ‘home’ games into MSG West were going to end once the Nets began play in Brooklyn this fall,” according to Tim Bontemps of the N.Y. POST. Yormark, noting the teams will face each other to open the season, said, “What better matchup than the Nets vs. the Knicks at the Barclays Center, not only to open the building for pro basketball, but also to set the tone for what I think will be hopefully one of the greatest rivalries in pro sports.” He “scoffed at the idea that the Nets need time to build up their fan base after spending the past 35 years being overlooked across the Hudson before taking on the Knicks and their legions of fans in the area.” Yormark said, “Trust me, those are Brooklyn Nets fans buying those seats. What happened in New Jersey, for how long it happened, for however long it happened, it’s in the past. That will not happen in Brooklyn.” He added, “There isn’t a concern as far as I’m concerned as far as who might show up and the allegiances they might have. I’m a believer in Brooklyn, and I’m a believer that, on opening night, we’ll have a big-time Brooklyn Nets crowd in the building, and it will be a home court advantage for us” (N.Y. POST, 7/27). In N.Y., Nate Taylor writes a few weeks ago, Yormark "made a request to NBA Commissioner David Stern for Brooklyn's first home game" to be against the Knicks. Yormark said, "I'm looking forward to it. People are going to be talking about this game until it happens." Yormark added, “We are now part of the conversation, and I can’t say we were in New Jersey. This has been an incredible move.” Knicks play-by-play announcer Marv Albert, who will call the Nets’ season opener on TNT, said, “They’ll be talking about this night for years to come as one of the biggest events in New York sports’ illustrious history. Brooklyn is back in the big leagues” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/27).

COULD MEAN TROUBLE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Chris Herring writes despite the publicity it "will garner, having the first home game against the Knicks could be a somewhat risky proposition.” In April, during the Nets' final game in New Jersey, Knicks fans “took over the Prudential Center as if it was their home stadium.” They outnumbered Nets fans, chanted "MVP" for Knicks F Carmelo Anthony and “booed New Jersey players whenever they went to the free-throw line” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/27).
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