Earlier, we posted about “Nets Training Days,” a feature that ESPN recently taped and aired today. In it, Mark Schwarz interviewed Avery Johnson, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, and other Nets players about the franchise’s move to Brooklyn and what it means for the community. It starts off with a “look back” at Brooklyn’s pro sports history and what it means to the people of Brooklyn to again have a pro team to root for.
But it was Deron Williams, again, who said something noteworthy.
All of the Nets players interviewed seemed to echo similar sentiments: they are doing more than playing basketball in “some borough,” instead, they are bringing a community together.
Several Nets talked about being amazed at the support and how emotional Nets fans have been about the intra-city rivalry that is brewing with the New York Knicks, while Avery Johnson was mostly excited about the level of fan support he expects in Barclays. “95 percent of the crowd will be for us,” he said. “There were times in New Jersey we were at home games and 80 percent of the crowd was for the road team.”
Deron Williams had the same observation, and he says he would have left New Jersey, with or without the Nets.
Schwarz asked Williams how much longer would you have stuck around if the team didn’t move to Brooklyn, to which he responded, ”I wouldn’t have… There was no chance I would have stayed,” he paused and repeated for emphasis, “…zero chance I would have stayed.”
Williams cited the lack of fan support as one reason why. That might explain why Williams is so happy to be in Brooklyn…
John Paolantonio, ContributorWhen I saw this today, I was surprised that Williams was so candid. But after my initial shock, I thought for a moment about what Williams has gone through. He was unexpectedly traded to the Nets and has been surrounded by a lack of talent. I’m sure it’s been tough.
Over the past two years, I attended many Nets games at the Prudential Center in Newark, and there certainly wasn’t much support for the Nets, especially when they played the Knicks. Knicks fans would invade the building prior to the opening tip and often walk away with victories.
I am proudly from New Jersey, but I understand the frustration that a lack of support by the home fans could create. Apparently, D-Will wants more support.
We’ll see if Brooklyn can deliver.