15 October 2020 06:37
When the Nets left New Jersey for Brooklyn in 2012, they left behind a large chunk of their fan base. According to sources, former Nets ownership and marketing executive Brett Yormark made a meager attempt at bringing those fans with them on the journey to New York City. Now, that's changed. The Nets are considered Eastern Conference title contenders, and with Jersey native Kyrie Irving as one of the two faces of the franchise alongside Kevin Durant, the club is reaching out to the Garden State to join the ride. Wednesday, the Nets announced they will wear their tie-dyed sky-blue throwback jersey, first donned 30 years ago in the 1990-91 season.
Sources indicate new owner Joe Tsai wants to make a push to grab back those old Nets fans, especially with the Knicks still in the doldrums. The Nets' colors since the Brooklyn move changed to black and white. In a video to announce the move, Irving said, "Growing up in New Jersey as a Nets fan, especially in the tri-state area, it was a different pride you had to have. I had a chip on my shoulder everywhere I went. I was that New Jersey kid — sometimes in New York City or Philly, D.C., North Carolina or up the whole East Coast, it was big to rep where you're from.
"The motivation for me was when the Nets get back to The Finals, I'm going to be part of this team and we're going to be winning this,'' Irving said on the video. "I'm excited to pay homage to some of the Nets legends that came before me. Putting that jersey on will pay homage to them.'' Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, Deandre Jordan and possibly Joe Harris — if he's re-signed — form a nucleus of a club that should find itself atop the Eastern Conference, according to the oddsmakers. "The tie-dye jersey has long been a fan-favorite and we strive to be an organization that listens carefully to our fans," Nets CEO John Abbamondi said. After weeks of hints, winks and feints, the Nets made it official Wednesday... Introducing our 2020-21 Classic Edition throwback unis pic.twitter.com/SHtTt0FLe5 — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 14, 2020 In addition, the team store announced they're roll-outing out the tied-dyed gear that the Nets wore on 1991 at the Nets Store. 30 years ago the New Jersey Nets found a new look. This year, the Brooklyn Nets are paying homage to a classic. x ⚫️⚪️ | pic.twitter.com/BCXqRP1eqg — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 14, 2020 And at least for the time being, the Nets even have changed their avatar on social media... On Monday, the Nets posted a tantalizing video — called "The Connection Runs Deep" — on social media and the official website that got our attention for a lot of reasons... Raised in Jersey Rooted in Brooklyn Recognized Everywhere. 10.14 pic.twitter.com/aRoX8iSKIQ — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 12, 2020 While the announcement of a retro uniform is not normally a big deal, this one indicates that the Nets, under Joe and Clara Wu Tsai and new CEO John Abbamondi, are serious about going after their prodigal fans in New Jersey. "The tie-dye jersey has long been a fan-favorite and we strive to be an organization that listens carefully to our fans," Abbamondi said. "The Nets are proud to reintroduce this timeless uniform in honor of its 30th anniversary." Under Mikhail Prokhorov and Brett Yormark, the Nets dropped New Jersey like a rock after the move to Brooklyn. And to be fair, Jersey fans didn't flock to Brooklyn in numbers the Nets expected. Only about eight percent of fans who showed up at Barclays Center in the Nets first year in Brooklyn came from New Jersey, about half what was anticipated. Now with Kyrie Irving, a New Jersey nationalist —and former denizen of the Continental Airlines Arena, as one of their superstars, the timing of a march back into the Garden State must have seemed [email protected] knows the road from Jersey to Brooklyn is paved with history. He reflects on the chance to pay homage to his childhood heroes in our new throwback unis pic.twitter.com/J2C5q6JKRC — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 14, 2020 Fan reaction was immediate and positive, as Dawn Risueno, the grand doyenne of Nets fans tweeted... The Brooklyn Nets won't only have a new look next season with Kevin Durant, but also an old look, as they will use vintage uniforms next season. The Nets unveiled their Classic Edition uniform, which honors a fan-favorite "tie-dye" design worn during the 1990-91 season. The "sky blue-to-white gradient" uniforms were last worn by the Nets when the team played in New Jersey. The Nets moved on from New Jersey after 35 seasons, jumping rivers to Brooklyn and opening up Barclays Center in 2012. "You've got the classic jersey that we're paying homage to just that brief snapshot in Nets history," Kyrie Irving said. "I'm grateful to be able to do it, and I'm honored to be able to do it, because I know putting that on is just paying homage to the legends that came before me." Even though the Nets have managed to make the playoffs five out of the eight years they've been at Brooklyn, the level of pressure will be unlike any other next year. With the addition of Durant, and a fully-healthy Irving, there's no doubt they are the frontrunners to come out of the East. Brooklyn joins Atlanta as the latest NBA teams to unveil their new threads for next season. The Hawks will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the first-ever 'MLK' Nike City Edition Uniform.