Patty: The easiest way to be popular is to leech off the popularity of others.
Selma: So we propose changing our name from "Springfield to "Seinfeld".
The Nets finished making their offseason moves on draft night, giving Nets fans nothing to discuss for over 70 days and counting. They have been coping in various ways; some have decided to go outside and get fresh air, bloggers have resorted to creating gimmick months, and still others have...shudder...watched the summer league. With interest in the team waning and season tickets moving like cold cakes, Brett Yormark unleashed this:
The Nets Reversible Jersey Ticket Plan
This became big news on August 13th. However, on August 12th, my friend Danny and I were invited to the Nets' training facility for an event that was designed to get ticket holders from last season to renew. The event began with three games:
- A trivia contest, which was a piece of cake. I'm like Rain Man when it comes to the Nets.
- Knock-out. I wanted to be knocked out immediately for two reasons: this game is overly exhausting, and there were five or six little girls in the knock-out line, meaning the potential for embarrassment was higher than normal. So I stood in front of Danny, took a half-assed free throw that ricocheted to the left and sailed past the 3-point line, and that was as far as I got in Knock-out.
- NETS, their version of HORSE. And I was money, hitting long-distance threes and shots with my eyes closed. It was down to me and the Nets employee running the show, both of us tied with two letters. Then, Danny made my opponent aware of my fatal flaw: I can't hit lay-ups. An up-and-under and a head-grabbing lay-up later, and I was eliminated. Danny summed it up best: I fulfilled every stereotype of white basketball players. I couldn't dribble or hit lay-ups, but I could hit 3s.
After shooting around, they led us inside for "Nets Make a Deal". My gambling side came out, and I turned down two good prizes to see what was behind curtain number 3. My prize? A Sly Fox key chain. Epic fail. After that, I enjoyed some refreshments and bitched about the team to my ticket representative. It was then when she first showed me this 10-game plan with the jerseys.
I have to be honest: I liked the plan, and did not foresee the controversy it would bring. I am not a jersey-wearing guy, but I did think it would be cool to get the Nets starting line-up. Plus, that's pretty much ten of the best games you could ask for as Nets fan: seeing Vince, Kidd, and RJ. I'm not that interested in seeing the Lakers, Heat, and Cavs because none of their players interest me outside of their one big star. It is always fun to play other division teams like the Celtics and Knicks, and I am interested in the young guns on the Clips. If only they added Atlanta and Golden State for Twin's and Mikki's respective returns.
But, I now see how and why people are upset about this. It is pretty ridiculous to be selling your opponents' merchandise to say the least. When I was talking to a friend about what blog articles I had lined up, I mentioned this marketing gimmick. He was not a Nets fan, but was shocked that this was a real promotion. Nets management was in complete spin control immediately after, posting on their facebook account, asking the fans about their opinion of the promotion and ideas for other incentives.
Brett Yormark is the mastermind behind this controversy. He did go to the NBA front offices for approval before launching the campaign, so clearly he knew that there was the possibility of backlash. His main argument in favor of the promotion is that the Nets cater to both Nets fans and NBA fans. To be honest, he is correct. The Nets have used other teams' stars to sell tickets as long as I can remember. One of the first Nets games I went to was against the Orlando Magic. My mom told me she would hope that Shaq or Penny was not injured so I would not be disappointed. And, it happens all across the league, as teams like the Cavs and Lakers sell out other teams' arenas.
So, I cannot reject Yormark's argument. However, I believe I have the solution:
(Image by GMJ of the NetsDaily forums)
So, the one side has the current Nets on the roster: Harris, Lee, The Butler, Yi, and Brook. On the other side is a potential 2010 free agent. I would go with Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, LeBron James, Carlos Boozer, and Amare Stoudemire. However, the other side has these players in Nets uniforms! Imagine LeBron showing up to an arena, and seeing nearly 20,000 fans (okay, more like 8,000) donning his potential Nets jersey. How could he not sign here?
Alternatively, the Nets could do this same promotion, but using the top prospects of the 2010 draft. The five I would use are Derrick Favors, Ed Davis, Johnny Wall, Willie Warren, and Cole Aldrich.
Is it jinxing the Nets? Maybe. Is it legal to do? Probably not. But, it would generate tons of publicity, and as Yormark knows, there's no such thing as bad publicity. So, Nets Marketing Department: You're welcome!