Monday, June 29, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

"Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn." - Michael Stipe

It's almost July 4th, which means I've been watching my favorite movie: Independence Day. It start's with the R.E.M. song "It's The End Of The World As We Know It", which has pretty much been the sentiment among Nets fans after last Thursday's events. The above lyric sums it up: the roster has been slashed and burned, we've returned to being the league's doormat, and everybody just has a knot in their stomachs.

I admit, on Thursday I felt the same way, too. It was tough to enjoy the draft, as I couldn't really focus, thinking about how the team would be next year. The only thing I knew for certain that would be positive about this trade was that it would give me something to write about for the blog. So I've organize my thoughts, and tried to put my honest opinions down.

1. Vince Carter. Well, I have to admit, I was never a fan of Vince Carter's game. As mention in last week's Keith Van Horn article, the late 90s gave birth to a lot of "highlight reel" stars, which are stars that were all flash, but couldn't guarantee you victories. VC, arguably, is one of them. He has not been on a team that has won more than 50 games in a season, and has never been past the second round of the playoffs. Now, that MOST LIKELY will change in Orlando, but it's still indicative of a lack of having that killer instinct (like Kobe and Duncan have).

It was always tough for me to fully embrace Vince the way others did. As a kid, my favorite players weren't Shaq or Jordan, but rather Penny Hardaway and Shawn Kemp. I liked guys who were very fast, pass-oriented, run-and-gun type players. And, clearly, Vince does not fit that mode. Another issue I had with him were the end of the game "heroics". He took too many contested jump shots, rather than driving the lane or getting other teammates involved. Granted, this strategy was not a total failure, as there were tons of times where VC was successful and produced some of the most memorable highlights of the last 5 years. Basically, having Vince Carter on your team is a lot like playing blackjack. You'll have hot streaks (as the Nets won 14 games in a row, and an Atlantic Division crown), and cold streaks (the last two seasons). In the end, if you play your cards to the best of your ability, your odds of winning are just 50/50. The Nets winning percentage since trading for Vince Carter on December 17th, 2004? 49.74%.

That being said, I'm not trying to be overly negative with Vince. Vince became a leader last year, and was clearly the best player on the team. The Nets have won 0 games without him since he joined the team (that is to say, they are 0-fer on games that Vince has missed due to injury). His lack of presence on the team will be glaring and extremely difficult to overcome. I believe the scientific term to describe the drop in talent from Vince Carter to Courtney Lee is "ginormous". All I am doing is pointing out that it is an arduous task to build a championship contending team with Vince Carter as your best player. On the Orlando Magic, Vince should only need to be the second or third best player, which will give him more success.

2. Ryan Anderson. Conversely, I am REALLY going to miss Ryan Anderson. While his numbers aren't particularly impressive, he showed some good basketball instincts - making little moves while positioning for rebounds, defending, and playing offense - that many other players take years to develop. His style of play should fit Orlando perfectly.

However, after initial vitriol on Thursday, I have accepted his departure. The reason he was thrown in and not Boon or Sean Williams was that he was on the books for 2010. Will free agents want to play with Devin Harris? Maybe. Will free agents want to play with Brook Lopez? Maybe. Will free agents want to play with Yi and get international exposure? Maybe. Will free agents wants to play with Ryan Anderson? That's probably a No. There are many more "Ryan Andersons" in the future. But, he should have a good NBA career.

In Bill Simmons' Draft Diary, he joked that Terrence Williams will be able to dress up as Star Wars characters with Brook Lopez. Ryan already beat him to the punch:

3. Courtney Lee. I don't know much about him, other than that silly mask and that missed layup in the Finals. But, he had pretty good numbers last season and is still very young. Could he break out like Devin Harris did last season? Both were role players on disappointing Finals teams that were traded for Nets icons. All I know is that Magic fans hated losing him, which brings me to my next point...

4. Magic Fans Don't Like It. It is very tough to judge any trade involving your favorite team without rose-colored glasses. My initial gut instinct was I felt the Nets needed just a little more to make it even - a future first round pick, two second round picks, etc. But, over on the Orlando Magic message boards, they felt giving up Courtney Lee was too much. Many suggested giving up JJ Redick instead. Even the Magic GM has called Vince Carter "Fool's Gold" in the past. So, perhaps it is not as lopsided as many Nets fans believe. In fact, there have been many columnists who have praised the trade as beneficial to both teams. I particularly liked this analysis by Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie.

5. It's about the championship. In high school, I finished 3rd in my graduating class. My mom told me that this is just as good as finishing 103rd, since only the top 2 students give speeches at graduation. Really, the same principle applies to the NBA. There's the NBA champion, and then there's 29 other teams.

From the Orlando Magic point-of-view, their window of opportunity is right now, so they mortgaged their young talent and cap space for a chance at the big cup. The Nets were a 34-win team for two consecutive seasons, and were stuck in that 8-14 pick lottery hell. To me, winning 40 games and missing the playoffs is more frustrating than winning 15 games and missing the playoffs. As a fan, I've seen the Nets make the playoffs. I've seen the Nets make the Finals (twice)! I want to see a championship, and clearing cap room and acquiring young talent is at least going in the right direction.

6. History repeating. This, unfortunately, isn't the first time the Nets have made moves that caused fans to throw up their arms and declare the franchise dead. Many remember the Summer of 2004, and I will go into that in detail next week. But, do you recall the outrage after draft day in 2001? When the Nets acquired Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson for Stephon Marbury and Eddie Griffin? Surely, I cannot be serious. But, reactions were mixed at the time, and there were accusations of - get this - the owners not wanting to spend money on a winning team. Sound familiar? Read this excerpt from Peter Vecsey (found in the Joe Netsfan archives):

"Thorn views Jefferson, Collins and Pepperdine's Brandon Armstrong as roster fodder, er, assets, something the team conspicuously lacks. Especially in terms of big men who can make shots. More importantly, ownership doesn't have to overpay for veterans, particularly one at the mid-level $4.5M cap exception [...]

"Now comes word of the impending (soon as the clock strikes midnight, July 18) Sayonara to Stephon Marbury. [...] The packaging of point guards may or may not make the Nets better. But, in keeping with the grand scheme of the Garden State, it'll eventually reduce the budget and help avoid paying any luxury tax [...] Marbury has four more years left on his contract, worth $52M, while Kidd is on the clock for half that time for the relative bargain of $17.6M. [...]

"You've heard of winning at all cost. Meet the New Jersey Nets, proud practitioners of lose at no cost."

Well, here we are 8 years later, and many are writing the same on blogs and internet forums. Vecsey, obviously, looks foolish in retrospect, seeing that the Nets went on to have their best season in franchise history. How will we look at what people are saying about this trade in the future?

7. Into the Great Unknown... Honestly, I have no idea how history will look back at this. Loyal readers know I suck at predictions. If Orlando wins a ring, then they clearly will have no regrets about the trade. But, this trade raises many questions. Will Vince Carter, now 32, be able to remain healthy? Is Courtney Lee ready to break out? Will the Nets be able to sign a big name free agent with their cap space? Like the Richard Jefferson trade last summer, it cannot be evaluated until the big summer of 2010. And even if the Nets fail that summer, there is always next summer.

That's the beauty of following a sports team - it doesn't end. Nothing is permanent. The Nets will still play 82 games next year, regardless of who is and isn't on the team. Let's look at Orlando's franchise. in the early 90s, they hit the lottery - twice - and were suddenly transformed into a championship contender, making the Finals in 1995. Then, Jordan came back, Shaq left, Penny got injured, they dumped a lot of salaries, signed Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, Hill got injured, got knocked out of the first round, lost 19 games in a row, dumped a lot of salaries, won the lottery, signed Hedo and Lewis, and, 14 years later, they were back in the NBA Finals. That franchise has had a few ups and downs, wouldn't you say so? Like the Nets, Orlando has a small but proud fanbase, and if they can stick with the team on that decade-long roller coaster ride, we should too.

As of right now, the Nets are tied for the best and worst record in the NBA. I cannot wait for the start of the season.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Survived Thursday and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt (Which Will Come Off the Salary Cap in 2010)

So, Nets fans are jumping off the bandwagon or David Carradining themselves left and right after Thursday's events. While it is a well-written and informative blog, Nets Daily isn't exactly the place to turn to for optimism right now. Fear not, I'll have a new post Monday, after I've had a chance to clear my thoughts and destroy my liver. Drinking eases pain, right? RIGHT?

And for the record, I said 95% of Danny's mock draft was going to be wrong. My apologies. It was only 77% wrong.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Danny Thoughts - Mock Draft

Before I let Danny take the floor, I just want to note that I am on the record as being strongly against mock drafts. What you see written below may most likely be 95% wrong. But, everybody's blog has SOME draft coverage, so for you fans of the 29 loser teams looking for some ray of light, or if you are just looking to kill five minutes on the interwebs, I present to you: Danny Thoughts.

Volatility would best describe things like: 1) the NY Stock Exchange, 2) NY weather, 3) a reality television star’s “celebrity” life, and 4) the 2009 NBA Draft. All my years of being an avid NBA fan have not prepared me to encounter a draft like 2009. Besides Blake Griffin, I could make an argument for why almost every player in this draft could be taken 2-13. There are no stand-out players this year, but from what the “experts” say (ESPN,, this draft will improve the depth for most teams. Sadly, some of these teams (for example, ALL THE LOTTERY TEAMS), need a superstar, or at least a player that will contribute immediately in some basketball form.

Steven Scutti, an avid fan of good basketball and the Nets, went to Wake Forest and has a very good eye for figuring out NBA Mock Drafts. Besides a handful of promises, this mock draft is comprised of Steven and me going through each team’s roster and dissecting their needs and wants. In simpler terms, we shot darts in the dark on some of these picks because, seriously, how could you mock draft this year’s draft?! It’s practically impossible. But that’s what me and Steve have been doing since 2nd grade, making the impossible possible. Here we go!

1. LA Clippers - Blake Griffin
2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet
3. Oklahoma City Thunder - Ricky Rubio
(Editor's note: Ru-Bi-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)
4. Sacramento Kings - Tyreke Evans
5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Stephen Curry
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonny Flynn
7. Golden State Warriors - Jordan Hill
8. New York Knickerbockers - Brandon Jennings
9. Toronto Raptors – James Harden
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jrue Holliday
11. New Jersey Nets - Tyler Hansbrough
12. Charlotte Bobcats - Terrence Williams
13. Indiana Pacers – Demar Derozan
14. Phoenix Suns – Earl Clark
15. Detroit Pistons – BJ Mullens
16. Chicago Bulls – Gerald Henderson
17. Philadelphia 76ers - Ty Lawson
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Austin Daye
19. Atlanta Hawks – Jeff Teague
20. Utah Jazz – Sam Young
21. New Orleans Hornets – Dejuan Blair
22. Dallas Mavericks – James Johnson
23. Sacramento Kings – Omri Casspi
24. Portland Trailblazers – Darren Collison
25. Oklahoma City Thunder – Chase Budinger
26. Chicago Bulls – Derrick Brown
27. Memphis Grizzlies – Eric Maynor
28. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonas Jerebko
29. LA Lakers – Wayne Ellington
30. Cleveland Cavaliers – Taj Gibson

This has been Danny Thoughts. Drive home safely.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Random Nets Crap - Keith Van Hornet

As a long-time Nets fan, I've compiled a shitload of Nets memorabilia and freebies throughout the years. Now, feast your eyes on the more ridiculous and obscure paraphernalia in a blog feature I call....RANDOM NETS CRAP!


(Click on images to enlarge)

There's a lot to love and be frightened about this plush little guy. His crazy bug eyes. The kick-ass yet mildly phallic stinger. The adorably intimidating limerick.

Let's just begin with a bit of background to whatever spawned this mutant transformation of the New Jersey Ute. Meanies were just one of the countless rip-offs of Beanie Babies in the late 90s and early 00s. Basically, young heterosexual boys wanted to have something cuddly to collect, but also show off how bad-ass they were. Enter Meanies - the crotch-grabbing, tobacco-spitting gangstas of the plush beanie doll industry.

The thing that generated the most buzz for Meanies was their clever takes on celebrities. Bill Clinton became BULL Clinton! Mike Tyson is...wait for it...Mike BISON! Think Allen Iverson is safe? Oh no, because here comes ALIEN Iverson!

During the 1999-00 season, The Nets teamed up with the Meanies organization for a few give-aways as well. The first one was Stephon MarBEARy, then came Mr. Van Hornet. The last one was a version of Jayson Williams called Bison Williams - clearly, the fad had died and they were not trying anymore.

Now, astute readers may be wondering: "HEY RORY! Where's the rest of them?" Well, shut the fuck up. Yes, I did attend the games with my brother and mother where Stephon Marbeary and Keith Van Hornet were given out. I do not recall getting Bison Williams - we probably did not have tickets to that game. My brother and I grabbed as many as we could, and upon returning home, but them all on eBay.

You see, from about the ages of 10 to 16, I was constantly looking for the next big collectible. The biggest trends I threw myself into were comic books, actions figures, and basketball cards. My naive mind thought that these items would basically put me on easy street. I could out-fox the system, buying these items at retail price and reselling them on the secondary market. There was some success, but what I sold was usually "re-invested" back into more of the same item. Now, I still have a ton of these "collector's items" sitting in my mom's house that, perhaps one day, I'll be able to cash in. I now have more basketball cards of coaches and general managers than I do of active players. Action figures remain untouched - but they may have some value if I have children in the future. Comic books seemed to be the best of these investments, as some can still be read and enjoyed for their artistic merits (but I no longer worry about keeping them in MINT condition).

Anyway, the Nets Meanies would fetch a decent amount of scratch on eBay - usually around $40. God knows who was buying these things, and if they still have them. My brother and I pocketed this cash, but looking back, it probably should've gone to momma to help offset the cost of, you know, TAKING US TO THE GAME. What greedy little fucks we were.

So why did this Keith Van Hornet get spared from the Internets Garage Sale? In many ways, Keith Van Hornet is a lot like his real-life counterpart: Attempts to be cool and intimidating, but fails and just looks soft and lovable.

As you know, I usually use the Random Nets Crap feature to rant about a team or a player, and I already touched on Keith Van Horn a little in a past entry. Well, Keith Van Horn is a player I am unnecessarily sentimental about. Now, since I never claimed that this site will provide objective rational commentary, I present to you:

The Shameless Keith Van Horn Apologist's Top 5 Excuses for Keith Van Horn's Career!

1. Bad Timing

In the late 90s, the NBA was in the age of the "Me-First" young star. I believe the catalyst was the ridiculous Juwon Howard contract, but young players were getting too much fame and money without having accomplished anything in the NBA. Just as an example: If somebody gave me advice on how to write, I would listen, since I'm new at blogging. But if I somebody gave me a guaranteed $80M over 6 years to write based upon what I've written so far, I wouldn't give a shit about improving. With guys like Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Stephon Marbury, Antoine Walker, etc. rolling around with millions and a double-digit entourage, you could tell it would not bode well for a dorky, reserved guy from Utah. Furthermore, he entered into the draft in 1997, where there was one clear great player (Tim Duncan), and a large talent drop off after that. Only two all-stars were picked after Duncan. One is Chauncy Billups, who took several seasons before finding his role in the NBA. The other is Tracy McGrady, an injury maligned franchise player who has not made it past the first round. Keith Van Horn was picked behind Tim Duncan, setting up point number 2...

2. Unrealistic Expectations

Keith Van Horn will always be remembered as the player picked after Tim Duncan. With Chauncy Billups record 7th straight conference finals appearance, Keith Van Horn is starting to get lumped in with other #2 busts like Sam Bowie and Shawn Bradley. Had Van Horn declared for the draft after his Junior year, he would have been remembered as another solid player in the amazing 1996 draft. He would not have been #2 (although still most likely a lottery pick), and expectations would have immediately been lowered. Also, as mentioned before, Van Horn was another player who got too much money too fast. By his third year, he already received a 7 year, $90M contract extension. Nets management made some silly decisions back then - such as the Marbury trade and Jayson Williams' contract, and this was another one. But, when you get paid like a franchise player, you need to perform like one. Van Horn was incredibly overpaid, and expectations became unreachable.

3. Bad Teams/Teammates

This all ties into the bad timing segment, as well. In his rookie year, he excelled and showed a lot of promise. That was because he played with veteran leaders like Sam Cassell and (gulp) Jayson Williams. The next 3 years were spent with Stephon Marbury - who can destroy any team. He absolutely murdered USA basketball. And, call me crazy, but I blame him for Kevin Garnett's injury on the Celtics, too. When Jason Kidd came on board, Van Horn turned around, too. But that was just one season, and then it was back to the nuthouse with Allen Iverson in Philly. After that, he was able to be a witness to the dawning of the Isiah Thomas Knicks. From there, it was the Terry Porter led Bucks. Finally, he was able to land with Dallas, where he found a good niche as Nowitzki's back-up. Of all the coaches he has had in his career, only Byron Scott is still coaching, and Lord Byron just presided over one of the worst playoff performances ever. Overall, he certainly didn't have good luck with teammates - with his biggest role model in his formative years being Jayson Williams.

4. Injuries

In a preseason game against the Knicks, Van Horn was lighting them up, and looking like The Great White Hope that he was billed to be. But it was in this game that he sprained his right ankle. Early injuries can haunt any rookie's career (hello, Josh Boone!). If you take a look at this page, you can see it is littered with right ankle sprains.

5. Screw everybody, he had a really good career!

He was a key part in two memorable Nets teams - the 97-98 team and the 01-02 team. In the latter, he was the leading rebounder and leading scorer (for most of the year until Kenyon Martin passed him slightly in the scoring load). Being the leading scorer and rebounder for a Finals team is something many players only dream about. For his efforts on the Nets, he was pictured on Slam Magazine twice, both times praising how good the entire team was. While the center, point guard, and small forward were different on the covers, Keith Van Horn and Kerry Kittles remained. After being bumped around the league like Jimmy Jackson, he ended up in Dallas, where he added another Finals appearance (although he was injured) to his resume. He was also instrumental in getting Devin Harris to the Nets for Jason Kidd after his retirement. Throw in career averages of 16/7 and decent shooting percentages of 44/36/84, and you have yourself a very good career my friends. Had not the 4 other factors killed his love of the game, he would be in the Michael Finley-esque portion of his career - playing about 25 mins and providing veteran leadership.

You go, Keith Van Hornet! Even though it may sting, you have to keep Van Horn's memory alive!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ed O'Bannon Update!

Just scant weeks ago, I was gleefully mocking an Ed O'Bannon banner. Then, the other day, I get alerted to this nicely written piece about Ed's current career path. You should all check it out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Guest Entry - Spotting The Lakers Bandwagoners

Hey, this is Rory here, we'll get to our guest in a bit. First, a little backstory. Growing up in North Jersey, I was surrounded by mostly Knicks fans. Next, there were the Bulls fans (who jumped on with MJ). Finally, there were the lowly Nets fans.

But, when I went to NYU, I was able to meet a more diverse group of people from across the country. These people were die-hard fans of their local teams. I met a Dallas fan who saw his team both win 14 games to start a season and 14 games during an ENTIRE season. I love people who root for the home team - cheering for the Knicks or Bulls and not being from New York or Chicago just seems so wrong to me.

This NBA finals pitted two of my friends against each other - Santosh from Florida:

And Brad from LA:

So, as a courteous gesture, I offered the winner a chance to voice his joy to the world via this enormously popular blog. So, without further ado, I give you - Brad's thoughts. For more of Brad's thoughts and ramblings, please check out his podcast, The Brad Bogner Show.

As a Lakers fan (and most importantly a sports fan), we are well aware of the avalanche of news stories coming up this summer begging to ask the question of where the Lakers 15th championship puts Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson in the history books, among other topics. But let's talk instead about the bandwagon Los Angeles Lakers fans. While the organization has plenty of devout and suppotive followers, they have their share of frontrunning fanatics like the rest of the world. Here are some easy telltale signs to determine if someone you know might be a recent Lakers fan.

1. They own a car flag.

Ugh. You know these people. You're driving on the 405, and all the sudden the freeway is just littered with Lakers flags attached to the passenger side window of the car. These are the worst, because the frontrunning aspect is so obvious. These flags never come out before the Lakers are on the cusp of another championship (Similar to the now popular USC Trojan car flags, which only come up after a Rose Bowl victory). However, they're generally so annoying to look at, we should all be thankful they only sprout up in June for a few weeks.

2. No clue where the name "Lakers" comes from.

Part of being a fan is knowing the background of an organization, especially a team like Los Angeles rich with history. It's unsettling to know there are Lakers fans out there completely unaware of the fact the team moved from Minneapolis at one point. Especially troubling is the fact this most likely means they are also oblivious of the First Great Big Man in George "Mr. Basketball" Mikan.

Anyway, the Lakers name came from the Pacific Ocean, right???

3. Enjoyed "Kobe Doin' Work."

Movie sucked. It's as simple as that. I haven't seen a more boring movie in recent times. About the only positive thing someone could gain from this movie is that it was free. You would think having a fascinating athlete as well as a visionary director like Spike Lee would allow for quite a good film (I figured if ABC can attach "visionary writer" to David S. Goyer I can give the same to Spike. Yeah, David S. Goyer of Blade 3:Trinity fame is a visionary. I think it's safe to say Franklin and Einstein are rolling in their graves right about now). The film is also very campy and comes off like a cheesy basketball instructional video for kids at camp. The youths watching this will want to immediately go back to doing suicide sprints on the courts. I'll stick with Hubie Brown's DVD series.

4. Participates in a riot.

You'd think the fact the Lakers have now been involved in an unprecedented THIRTY NBA Finals (including fifteen victories), would mean the fans would act like they've been there before. "Riot after a title? Please. Wake me up when they six-peat." But seriously, we're watching East L.A. burn to the ground over this? You'd like to think some bandwagon Lakers fans could handle a championship with the cool, calm, collected demeanor of a Bill Russell.

5. Thinks Del Harris is the name of a fluffer from a Ron Jeremy set.

Now while Kurt Rambis was technically the interim and previous coach before Phil Jackson, Harris reigned over the Shaq/Kobe teams of the late 90's. While the Lakers consistently made the playoffs, and could usually get out of the first round, they always would get crushed by the Spurs or Jazz in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. "Oh, what's this? Malone's going to set up a high screen and roll for Stockton?" While I don't blame Del Harris for these failures per se, it's good to see that Jackson's nine seasons with the Lakers has led to six NBA Finals appearances, with four rings to show for it. Also, the next time someone tells you that Phil Jackson can only win with superstars, you should point out how Doug Collins in Chicago and Del Harris in Los Angeles presided over the same teams for several seasons and this whole winning thing is not as easy as it sounds. (Isn't it troubling to know that Del Harris has as many Coach of the Year honors as Phil Jackson? Shudder.)

6. Asks Shaq how his ass tastes after the 2009 NBA Finals.

There is no doubt the most recent championship was a huge milestone for Kobe's illustrious career, as well as eliminating the doubt he couldn't win a title without Shaq. But c'mon guys. The Big Fella was such an enormous part of the three-peat in the earlier part of the decade, and you have to tip your hat to how great he was in the Purple and Gold. His jersey will be in the rafters at Staples Center, and that's exactly where it belongs. I for one, am excited by the prospect of Cleveland's Danny Ferry finally pulling the trigger to trade for The Big Aristotle and seeing a Shaq v. Kobe 2010 NBA Finals. I'm sure ESPN will remain level-headed throughout that hypothetical contest.

There you have it. Some excellent criteria to determine if someone you know is a bandwagon Lakers fan. It was always funny to me growing up during the Randy Pfund and Del Harris coached years, and having people tell me how much the Lakers sucked. Then when they became unstoppable, I was the bandwagon fan! Nobody seemed to have beef with me being a Dodgers fan this entire time.

Now is the part where you can talk in the comments section about how Kobe is a rapist and Phil Jackson can't win without superstars. You can also tell me these things at a bar if you ever see me. Just be prepared to tell me who K.C. Jones is if you're a Celtics fan. Go Lakers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reader E-Mail - No. Nets. IN BROOKLYN!

OK, below is an e-mail from one of the blog followers. I was going to wait to publish a few e-mails at once, but the subject was Brooklyn, which there has been a lot of talk about in the last week. So I'm keeping it topical and adding my $0.02 about BK.

If you'd like me to answer your e-mail, please send to rory(dot)toohey(at)gmail. Thanks!


Wanted to say great site and thanks for being a loyal Nets fan. I've been a fan and going to the games since I was 3, 24 now. I am completely sick to my stomach knowing that Ratner, hate the guy, is still going strong with this supposed move to Brooklyn. I've emailed the Nets and the Izod center plenty of times expressing my opinions and the Izod center actually got back to me and said they appreciate the support and they are doing what they can to keep the Nets here as well. I am fully in if you or anyone you know are doing anything to try and keep our team here. Thanks.


Well, the Nets "imminent" move to Brooklyn seems to hit road block after road block, so I'm not quite sure when it will get done. The official word I get from my ticket rep and other Nets officials is 2011 - however, last year I was invited to an event where the theme was "Brooklyn in 2010 Come Hell or High Water." So I don't know what to believe. If it is any comfort to the pro-Jersey crowd, about three years ago, the Nets renewed their lease at the Meadowlands through 2013. I'm not sure what the terms are for breaking that lease, but it provides a safety net for future Barclays Center delays.

My thoughts? The Nets need a new arena, period. The Izod Center (a.k.a. Continental Arena a.k.a. Brendan Byrne Arena) is the second oldest arena in professional basketball, behind Madison Square Garden. It is incredibly inconvenient to get to if you do not drive (as documented in my second ever post). A new arena would re-invigorate a lethargic fanbase, and provide more revenue to the team (via luxury boxes).

Frankly, it seems the best option would be the new Prudential Center in Newark, where the Devils call home. The Nets will be playing some pre-season ball there this October. I have never been to the Rock yet, so I might just check this out. If you are pro-Jersey, going to the pre-season games would be the best way to show your Jersey pride. Usually, pre-season games have very low attendance in the Meadowlands, so a large showing would definitely make the owners take notice.

Ultimately, however, I think Brooklyn is best for the team long-term. The Nets will have a new arena that is accessible from tons of public transportation. They will have a large population of new fans, as Brooklyn is one of the most populous cities in the United States without a sports team. Furthermore, think of the merchandise sales: wearing a hat or jersey with "Brooklyn" on it definitely has more street cred than "New Jersey". The event I went to earlier (about Brooklyn in 2010) also mentioned setting up bus transportation from the Meadowlands to the new Brooklyn arena to help the loyal New Jersey fans, so that may provide you some relief. Basically, a move from Brooklyn transforms the Nets from a small market franchise to a big market franchise. Perhaps it will allow Ratner to open up the purse strings and go after some high-quality free agents!

Once again, thanks for the e-mail, and to all my readers out there: keep them coming! It's great to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kick Ass New Banner!

What's that above? Why that's an awesome new header created by friend of the blog Tyler "The General/ The Sponge" Hill! A funny and kind soul, he took time away from raising his newborn to create this work of pure art. Because of this, he may have sacrificed his chance at father of the year, but he certainly has won the Slippery When Nets Best Banner Maker 2009 award.

To check out more of his fresh designs and his entertaining number of blogs (the travel one is excellent), please visit The General Theory of Creativity.

Tyler has upped the ante for fans of the blog, and I'm sure you are wondering "How can I help?" Well, please feel free to e-mail me at rory(dot)toohey(at)gmail(dot)com (I'm trying to avoid those pesky spambots, but if you can't figure my e-mail address out, I probably don't want to read your e-mail anyway). I'll be happy to read your letters and answer your questions in a future segment on the site. Have a good one, folks!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Random Nets Crap - Ed O'Bannon Banner (O'Banner?)

As a long-time Nets fan, I've compiled a shitload of Nets memorabilia and freebies throughout the years. Dating back to 2001, I've made dedicated effort to save almost everything. Now, feast your eyes on the more ridiculous and obscure paraphernalia in a blog feature I call....RANDOM NETS CRAP!


(Click on images to enlarge)

Wow, what a find. I'm finding this difficult to write about, because of the level of ridiculousness this reaches. Even though I know it is just a cartoon of Ed O'Bannon, is there something about that depiction that is racist? Because it sure feels this way.

This is, so far, the oldest item featured on the Random Nets Crap segment of this blog. My memory is a little fuzzy about how this was acquired. But, it clearly shows my unhealthy NBA obsession in 1995.

As a young kid, I started dabbling in basketball in 1994, but it became a full-on addiction in 1995. I was 10 at the time, and was following the Orlando Magic. A shocking confession, but I was (still am) very dumb, and just picked the team at the top of the standings. I loved Penny, Shaq, Horace, Dennis, and Nick. Basketball was all I talked about. It even affected my loved ones. My mother, who never even heard of Michael Jordan until I started watching basketball, is now a die-hard Nets fan like me, and goes to more games than I do a season. My brother, who has absolutely no interest in basketball today, can still rattle off a couple random players from the mid-90s like Shawn Bradley and Muggsy Bogues.

During this time, I absorbed everything I could. I remember watching almost every game I could on TV - even teams like the Sixers and the Warriors that were awful that year. I spent way too much money on basketball cards and magazines. So, it must have been during this time when I acquired that crazy looking banner above.

This need for taking in all things basketball is what made me jump off the Magic bandwagon and root for the home team. We had the Star Ledger delivered at home, so all I read was Nets coverage (this was before the Internet made it possible for us to read every paper at one spot - thank you NetsDaily!). My mom bought our first Nets ticket package in the 1995-96 season, so I was seeing more Nets games live, and my bond to the Nets was strengthening. By 1996, the Magic lost Shaq, therefore they were televised less, leading me to watch more Nets games. Mix all these factors together, and you get the bitter, sarcastic Nets fan you see today. So, this banner is a symbol of the end of my innocence. This banner was the first step on the endless journey that has caused me to waste an incredible amount of time and money. DAMN YOU, ED O'BANNER. DAMN YOU TO HELL!