Since their ABA beginnings as a franchise, and through their entrance into the NBA, the Nets have been given a label as a troubled team that didn't win many games, had plenty of players get into serious trouble with the law, that never won many games and certainly didn't have much of a fanbase.
And all of that futility was manifested in the several sub-par arenas that the franchise has played in since its inception in 1967 as the ABA's New Jersey Americans.
That Americans team played its home games at the Teaneck Armory after the team's planned home arena, the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, was forced to invalidate the Americans' deal three months before the start of the season.
The franchise's owners had to scramble to find a new home in the Tri-State area and that frantically-chosen home base served as the kickstarter to an organization that just seemed to not get things right from Day One.
This was true roughly until now, when the Nets are on the doorstep of their first season in their brand new, billion-dollar home in one of the most popular boroughs of the biggest and most influential cities in the world.
However, the Barclays Center is not just a basketball arena for the Nets to play their home games in. Rather, it is much more. It represents the franchise rising up from its incredibly ugly shadow known as the Meadowlands and inner-city Newark—where they spent their seasons at since 1981—into the upper-tier of the league, at least in reputation.
I'm not saying the Nets will be an elite team in terms of record this season, I'm just saying that the team finally having a world-class arena to play 41 home games a year in will definitely serve to better the team's image and national awareness around the league and the sports world in general.
With the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets will finally be an attractive destination for free agents, not just a temporary spot to land before going onto bigger and better.
Brooklyn, and the Barclays Center, will finally be the bigger and better for those top-flight NBA free agents.
Instead of wanting to stay as far away from the Nets franchise as possible, people involved with the league will want to cover the brand new team in the brand new arena with the brand new potential to contend for a championship, if not this season then in those to come.
The times when the only players on the Nets were cast-offs from other teams, overpaid divas and those in between are over.
The Barclays Center has officially rushed this team into a new era, one that I, like all other Nets fans, are ridiculously excited to begin. Welcome to the big time boys, this isn't the Meadowlands or Newark anymore—this is Brooklyn.
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