By now, NBA season previews are rolling out. Countless basketball sites, podcasts, and television shows are breaking down all 30 teams; projecting how each will fare based on additions and subtractions. I would like to do something different and focus on teams through the fish-eyed lens of their respective most-intriguing player or players. I continue with the Brooklyn Nets.
Take a look at this picture. The hyperlink will open to a new tab, so you don’t have to stop reading for long. Now, I triple dog dare you to attempt to name these players without using Google. If you can, you are either a basketball savant, a Brooklyn Nets fan, magical, or a cheater. I consider myself very knowledgeable of even obscure players, pro or college. Resident fellow hoops enthusiast–and still amazing person, despite being a Raiders fan–Phillip Barnett couldn’t even name one, and he probably keeps up with basketball better than I do.Who are these guys? (Credit: @thenbpa)
As I said in an earlier post, the Atlanta Hawks were the last team I named when listing every current NBA team from memory. But even then, I instantly remembered Dwight Howard signed there. Though I remembered the Nets existed before the Hawks, not readily knowing who is on the roster is kinda damning to the franchise’s relevance. I wasn’t 100 percent sure Brook Lopez was still on the team, and he’s been there for close to a decade.
So I went to Google. “Brooklyn Nets roster” went into the search bar, and I hit the enter key in unsure curiosity. Lopez is there, of course, but that was a needled certainty in a haystack of unknown faces. But there was one that I did recall: Jeremy Lin. And it is actually fitting that he is on the Nets.
Remember Linsanity? Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm in 2012, going from cut by the Warriors to thrust into the Knicks’ starting lineup and playing extremely well. He hit a game-winner against Toronto, among many other highlights and stellar performances. There’s even a movie about it. For a few months, Lin was the main headline thief of the Association. Then, as he moved from team to team, the novelty wore off. By the time he landed in Charlotte, Jeremy Lin was just another NBA player.
The Nets went through something similar. Moving to Brooklyn in 2012, the team that used to call New Jersey home figured a new home would revitalize the franchise. New logo, new color scheme, new arena and even a mascot minority owner gave validity to that plan for rejuvenation. Fans even responded with those supremely annoying “BROOOOOK-LYN” chants, frequently bellowed at unwarranted moments in the game. Then, like most novelty items, interest faded. Even before team success plummeted, it was evident that the Nets were no longer as casually appealing. They became just another team.Have I mentioned how much I love media day photos? (Credit: Nothinbutnets.com)
Right now, both Lin and the Nets are searching to restore their respective relevance. Lin is the most recognizable face on the roster, but he is a known commodity among a group of unknown commodities. He is like finding a Prince record in the clearance section, but it’s the soundtrack to the 1989 Batman movie with Michael Keaton. At least “Scandalous” is on there.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.