November 3, 2012, 10 years ago today: The most anticipated Brooklyn sports event in a more than a half-century brings the borough a victory, as the Nets debut in their new Barclays Center home with a 107-100 win over the Toronto Raptors. It was a star-studded affair that included Jay-Z (a 15 percent owner of the franchise) and Beyonce. The home opener was supposed to be two nights earlier, but it was postponed due to the ravaging effects of one of the East’s worst storms in history, Hurricane Sandy. The Nets had played in New Jersey for 35 years before moving across the river.
The Nets also included former Brooklyn Dodgers Ralph Branca and Joe Pignatano in the pregame ceremonies as a nod to the borough’s fabled past. It was Brooklyn’s first home game in a major sport since the Dodgers made their final appearance at Ebbets Field. That was on September 24, 1957. Before a crowd of only 6,702 fans, the Brooklyn Dodgers blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0. Future Hall of Famer and Brooklyn icon Gil Hodges was the last Dodgers batter at Ebbets Field. In a matter of weeks following that final victory, the Dodgers had cleared out and moved to Los Angeles, and the New York Giants had shifted operations to San Francisco.
As for the Nets, Brooklyn was supposed to give the NBA a glamour franchise with the pull of New York City. But the Nets have made the playoffs only seven times since the move and have never made it past the Eastern Conference semifinals. It’s become known as a rather dysfunctional club. The addition of Kevin Durant in 2019 has not changed the mojo. This week the current Nets front office has fired coach Steve Nash only to go for suspended former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka. They are also dealing with Kyrie Irving’s support of a film with anti-Semitic overtones. It is really fun there.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)