NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are open for business. The team’s formal attire will be black and white.
The Nets began settling into their new neighborhood Monday, unveiling new colors and logos at a sporting goods store on Flatbush Avenue, across the street from its soon-to-be-completed home arena, the $1 billion Barclays Center.
“Hello Brooklyn,’” center Brook Lopez said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to say that. It’s very exciting.”
Lopez was joined by coach Avery Johnson, General Manager Billy King, Bruce Ratner, the real estate developer and minority owner who was the catalyst behind the team’s relocation, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“Today is a great day for Brooklyn It’s been one decade, 10 years, since I started discussing this with Marty. It’s taken 10 years, but they are officially the Brooklyn Nets,” said Ratner, who faced both legal and political resistance to the building of the arena and the relocation of the team he bought in 2004. “Ladies and gentleman, the curse of O’Malley is officially over today.”
The O’Malley family controlled the Dodgers from 1950-98 and moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.
The Nets, who have been playing in New Jersey since 1977, are leaving their red, white and blue look behind as they move across the Hudson River. The Nets will be the only team in the NBA with black and white as its only primary colors.
Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner, said the league has been trying to steer teams toward emphasizing their traditional primary colors instead of black, which many teams use for an alternative jersey, to make them more easily identifiable on television. But it had no problem with the choice of black and white for the Nets.
“We agreed with the Nets that this color scheme made sense for this market,” Silver said.
The team’s shield logo has Nets spelled out above a basketball with a block B on it. Below the shield, Brooklyn is printed. The Nets say the logo and color scheme were designed by minority owner Jay-Z and inspired by the New York City Transit Authority subway signs from 1957.
The Nets are hoping the move to Brooklyn will also bring a change of fortune for a franchise that has mostly toiled in the shadow of the New York Knicks. The Nets have never won an NBA title, though they went to the finals twice with Jason Kidd in 2002 and ‘03, and have not made the playoffs since 2007.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets in 2009, knowing that a move to Brooklyn was coming.
The team moved out of its longtime home arena at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., after losing 70 games in the 2009-10 season. The team has spent the past two years playing at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“Hopefully, around this time next year you guys will be at our press conference for the 2013 playoffs,” Johnson said. The Nets finished 22-44 this season.
Nets have been touting the move to Brooklyn as a way to lure big-time free agents to the team. That didn’t work out, as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and others passed on the team’s offers.
“We’ve been talking about it, but now the reality is we are the Brooklyn Nets,” King said. “The arena is on schedule. It’s going to be one of the best arenas in the league.”
King traded for All-Star point guard Deron Williams during last season, hoping he would sign an extension. Instead, Williams will become a free agent July 1.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.