Jay-Z officially bring the Nets to Brooklyn
Rap impresario Jay-Z stood on a dais across the street from the monstrous Barclays Center construction site on Monday morning and tried his very hardest to get everyone to forget about the NBA lockout.
A minority owner of the New Jersey Nets, Jay-Z made the long-anticipated announcement that the Nets will be known as the Brooklyn Nets when they move into the arena before the start of the 2012-13 season.
“I am absolutely humbled,” said Jay-Z, who looked resplendent in a dark suit that featured a white pocket square.
Jay-Z toured the site. Construction workers flocked for photos. He announced that he intends to christen the new arena with a series of concerts. “Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three—I sound like LeBron,” he said, taking a swipe at LeBron James’s much-maligned championship prediction with the Miami Heat.
For one sun-splashed morning, the labor strife that continues to threaten the 2011-12 NBA season was a non-issue. Perhaps that was the hope. Organizers of the press conference had promoted it by claiming it would include a “major announcement.”
The event did mark a milestone of sorts: the start of a 12-month countdown until the arena’s scheduled opening in September 2012. Borough president and tireless Brooklyn booster Marty Markowitz painted the entire project—buffeted for years by grassroots opposition—as a victory for his constituents, and as a loss for the cross-city New York Knicks, a team he re-branded as the “Manhattan Knicks.”
“For generations, Brooklyn-ites were belittled and disrespected,” Markowitz said. “Disrespected