The Life of a Nets Fan

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August 2, 2013 by NowhereButPop

By Khalid Bennett

Let’s go all the way back to 1998. Yes, the New York Yankees had one of their best seasons ever and won the World Series. Yes, Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA Championship. Yes, the Denver Broncos finally won a Super Bowl under John Elway. But I’m not here to talk about those teams. I am here to talk about a team that I have been a fan of since 1998.

What team could that be?

I mean, I am a Yankee fan. I am a football fan in general, even though I’ll root for the New York Giants. So basketball is left. That must mean I am a New York Knicks fan, right?

Well no.

I root for the other team that used to be across the river; The New Jersey Nets.

That’s right. I am a New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets fan.

I bet you are wondering how did I become a Nets fan. It’s simple; my dad is a Knicks fan. We never root for the same local team, so I decided to watch the Nets when I started getting into basketball.

I want to go in depth into what it is like being a Nets fan growing up in the late ’90s, the ’00s, and early ’10s.

1998-2001:

This was when the Nets were considered one of the worse teams in the NBA (the LA Clippers were probably worse). The New York Knicks were actually the team to beat in the Tri-State region. These were some rebuilding years after players such as Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson made their name in Nets franchise history. The starting lineup during that time wasn’t that bad at all. You did have Sam Cassell, who was a pretty good point guard at the time but got injured. You had Jayson Williams, who was actually a pretty good center before he got in trouble with the law. You had promising young talent with Kerry Kittles and Keith Van Horn, who both made their name as memorable Nets players. And yes there was Kendall Gill. Don’t forgot about Stephon Marbury. He was still a young star rising before he was traded to the Nets. During his time with them, he became an All-Star and the Marbury we all knew and loved, before he went to the Knicks. There was a lot of promise with this lineup. Unfortunately, the results didn’t show. In those three seasons, the Nets were 73-141, missing the playoffs, and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. It seemed like there was just more gloom and doom for the Nets.

2001-2008:

I’m putting seven years of Nets history here. Why? It had been the most successful run of the New Jersey Nets since I became a fan. Yes, the New Jersey Nets were winning games. These Nets were different. They were winning games; they were winning divisions; they were winning playoffs series. All of their success during this run is in part of one player, Jason Kidd. He is considered on of the best, if not, the best player to put on a New Jersey Nets jersey. I don’t know what happened but things just changed when he was on the court. Not only did the Nets go to the NBA Finals in 2002, they went again in 2003. They were 101-63 and dominated the Eastern Conference, beating on some tough teams along the way. What crushed me as a Nets fan was who they faced in the Finals both years. In 2002, they got swept by the Los Angeles Lakers. You have to admit though, this was when Shaq and Kobe were going after their third championship in a row. The Lakers were just unstoppable and couldn’t be beaten at all. The 2003 NBA Finals saw more promise for the Nets but they lost 4-2 to the San Antonio Spurs. That was when Tim Duncan emerged into on the top players in the game. The Spurs team was just too complete and the Nets didn’t have enough in them. During those Finals runs, Kidd was surrounded by good role players, such as Kerry Kittles, Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin, Jason Collins, Keith Van Horn and others.

By the mid 2004-2005 season, the Nets had acquired another emerging All-Star in Vince Carter. The Nets did have winning seasons with Kidd and Carter on the same team, minus the 2007-2008 season. The problem was that they were never the same team from the championship years. They were considered the best team in the Tri-State area, while the New York Knicks were on the downfall pretty bad. The Nets were lead by Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson for the most part, with role players such as Jason Collins, Nenad Kristic, Clifford Robinson, and even rookie, Josh Boone.

I was just satisfied that the Nets were a winning team and the Knicks kept going down the drain.

2008-2012:

These are the years that I want to forget as a Nets fan. They basically went back to what they were before the championship years. They traded Jason Kidd mid-season in 2008 and traded Richard Jefferson offseason. Later on, they traded Vince Carter. By the start of the 2009-2010 season, there was no one from the championship years. They were rebuilding again. I honestly don’t remember what really happened during those years. All I know is that the Nets were horrible. They had been in the bottom of the Eastern Conference again. Their roster kept changing every single year. Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, and Kris Humphries were the most consistent/most used players during that time. Even with acquiring Devon Williams, the Nets were still bad. Even he was unsure if he would stay with the Nets.

2012-Present:

It’s the 2012-2013 and the New Jersey Nets no longer existed. They were now the Brooklyn Nets, the other team in New York. I was really excited about the move and the moves they made through the offseason. They kept Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, while acquiring Joe Johnson. The starting lineup consisted of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Humphries, and Lopez, with somewhat of a decent bench. They once again started off slow, which included the firing of head coach Avery Johnson. Since the firing, the Nets were considered a good contender in the Eastern Conference, finishing 4th and facing the Bulls in the first round. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough in them to beat the Bulls in seven games. I was pretty disappointed. I really wanted the Nets to move on even though I knew they were going to get swept by the Heat for the most part.

I’ll end it off with this. There is a lot of promise in the rise of this Brooklyn Nets franchise. They made big moves in acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, plus others to strengthen their bench. They are taking a big risk in hiring Jason Kidd as their new head coach, considering that he just retired. I feel that the Nets will most likely be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference almost every year. Will a championship be on the horizon? That’s only if LeBron James leaves the Heat.

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