The franchise, founded in 1967, started out in the old ABA. At first they decided to call themselves the New York Freighters, although this name would later be changed due to a series of incidents and moves.
In their second season in the ABA they played on Long Island and changed their name to the New York Nets, abbreviating it to "Nets" to match the name with the other existing New York clubs, both in soccer and field hockey.
The arrival of Rick Barry in '71 from the Washington Capitols was a quality boost for the franchise. The small forward, known for his great ability to make baskets and his "rare" but effective way of shooting book shots, led the team to its first ABA Finals. A Finals they lost against the Indiana Pacers led by George McGinnis, Roger Brown... Unfortunately for the Nets' interests, Rick left the franchise that same summer. After this departure the Nets experienced a couple of bad seasons until the arrival of Julius Erving, or better known as Dr J.
Julius' first season with the Nets was magical. The team won its first championship after defeating the Utah Stars 4-2 in the finals. That same season Dr J was awarded the league MVP becoming the first player in the franchise to win it.
The good work of the Nets and Julius Erving continued during that decade. The following season they also reached the playoffs with 58 wins, a franchise record. However, they were unable to retain the title as they were eliminated by the Saint Louis Spirits by 4 to 1.
But it would not take them long to return to the top. The following season, 1974-1975, was another season to remember for the fans. The team once again won the ABA title and Julius Erving won the MVP award.
After the merger of the ABA and the NBA, the New York Nets entered the NBA, although with more shadows than lights. As soon as the Knicks entered the NBA, they asked for a compensation for "interference with the competition" that reached almost 5 million, this compensation, together with the debts that the franchise had, prevented the tycoon from being able to make effective the salary increase agreed with Julius Erving. Erving, seeing the situation, decided to refuse to play for the Nets and was traded to the 76ers. The departure of their top star led to a disastrous season, with the Nets posting one of the worst records in recent memory (22-60).
The following season, 77-78, began with a name change. The Nets moved to New Jersey and the team was renamed the New Jersey Nets. This was probably the most important event in a decade that was marked by not making the playoffs for almost 10 years. An era, in the end, to forget. Let's see what the 90's bring...
After a decade to forget, as mentioned above, the Nets were rebounding thanks to good draft decisions. Players like Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic formed a young core on which the franchise's hopes were based. Little by little, the club was improving. The first two years of the decade were positive in comparison with the previous years. In both seasons they managed to reach the playoffs. Playoffs that were always truncated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, aka "the bête noire" of the Nets that decade.
When it seemed that everything was going well for the franchise and that little by little they were approaching the level of the previous Nets, bad luck hit the franchise mercilessly. And, why not say it, to the fans of this wonderful sport. On June 7, 1993 it became known that Drazen Petrovic had died at the age of 28 due to a car accident in Germany. The Croatian shooting guard left us at the age of 28 with a lot of basketball still to give.
The loss of Drazen Petrovic was a huge blow for the franchise, which was rebuilding around the figure of the Croatian. Despite the irreparable loss of Petrovic, the Nets managed to make the playoffs that season. However, Ewing and company took it upon themselves to clip the Nets' wings.
The second half of the 1990s mirrored the decade of the 1980s. Extra-sports issues caused the team to get carried away, an example of this being Coleman's publication on the cover of Sports Illustrated as an example of a selfish and immature player. The 97-98 season was the only light found in that tunnel called "late 90's". The team, led by Calipari, managed to make the playoffs, although they fell in the first round against the Chicago Bulls.
The turn of the millennium was approaching, a change that the Nets' manager was looking for as a turning point in the future of the franchise. And in a way it was...
The millennium began with one of those decisions known as courageous, one of those that if it goes well you remain in people's memory and if it goes wrong you remain in their memory but in a bad way. In the summer of 2001, the Nets traded Marboury, the team's starting point guard, for Jason Kidd, a legend of the franchise.
The trade couldn't have been more successful. Kidd completed a quintet called to do great things, a quintet formed by Kenyon Martin, Todd MacCulloch, Jason Kidd, Keith Van Horn and Kerry Kittles. That season was extraordinary. The Nets finished first in the conference and reached the finals after beating Boston in a close and very close 4-2 conference finals. However, they faced an unbeatable Lakers that swept them 4-0, leaving one of the best seasons ever seen in New Jersey unfinished.
Management, knowing that the loss came in large part because of the lack of a strong point guard who could slow down Shaq, signed Mutombo the following summer. However, a hand injury and disagreements with the DT meant that the big African center did not gel with the Nets.
That season was also extraordinary. The Nets won the Eastern Conference again and reached their second consecutive NBA Finals. Sadly for the interests of the franchise, what happened a year earlier was repeated. The Nets lost again in the Finals, this time against San Antonio in a playoffs marked by the performance of power forward Tim Duncan, who averaged 24 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The next two years were marked by injuries. Important players such as Richard Jefferson and Mourning missed a large number of games due to long-term injuries.
The 2004-2005 season arrived and with it came Vince Carter to New Jersey in exchange for Alonzo Mourning. He arrived and kissed the saint. In his first season with the Nets he managed to play All Star and reach the playoffs after a spectacular run at the end of the season. However, the postseason adventure was short-lived.
The following years were marked by good regular season performances but poor playoff performances. Teams like the Cavaliers, Bucks... made the playoffs at the expense of a Nets inexperienced in the playoffs.
One of the causes of these playoff eliminations was the difference between the starting five and the bench players. The team suffered a lot with the changes in the starting lineup. The level offered by Kidd, Carter and Jefferson on the court was nowhere near the one offered by the substitutes.
As the years went by, the Nets became a fixture in the playoffs. Only the 2008 and 2009 seasons did not see the Nets in the playoffs. But the following year everything changed, a decade of headaches began....
"I will get married if the Nets are not champions in five years", this is how Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov introduced himself after acquiring the franchise in 2010. The first major change that the tycoon made was the transfer of the franchise to Brooklyn, which in turn caused the team to be renamed and renamed Brooklyn Nets. The second thing he did is not so well remembered by the fans.
In the summer of 2013, the Nets and Boston made one of the most unsuccessful trades in history, just ask Brooklyn fans. The Celtics sent Paul Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in exchange for players and many, if not, many, many draft picks. The mogul was no friend of long-term projects, he wanted to win and he wanted to win now. The first season was good, the team made it to the conference semifinals. But that was the only good thing. Each year that passed the project fell apart more and more. Paul Pierce and Garnett left the franchise without glory. That trade meant the sale of the Nets' entire future for a present that disappointed.
Gradually the franchise was rebounding with player trades, there was no other choice. Player for player and hope for the best. Fortunately for the interests of the franchise these "mini trades" worked out well. One of the most famous was the trade with the Lakers that sent the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Brook Lopez, for young point guard D'Angelo Russell.
The young point guard brought freshness to the team in the two seasons he stayed. The playoffs also returned, the last ones against the 76ers. A 4-1 sweep that at first may seem like a sweep but it showed that the Nets were back.
After a great season with DLo at the helm the franchise made a 180 degree turn with the acquisition of two of the best players in the league. First, Kevin Durant arrived in exchange for DLo from the Bay Area, injured and with two championships behind him, in search of a ring to forget the two won "without merit" according to the people. He arrived accompanied by a Kyrie Irving with more doubts than certainties. The point guard landed in Brooklyn after two mediocre seasons in Boston, two seasons in which Kyrie played to show the world that he was not a second sword, but a main sword, something he has not shown so far. With them came center DeAndre Jordan with the mission of making the Nets' zone strong and with the other mission of mentoring a Jarrett Allen called to do great things.
To be honest, the project has not started in the best way. KD continues to be injured, while Irving continues to sow doubts about his leadership and his health. The team has had to play a lot of games without its stars due to injuries, time that has served Spencer Dinwiddie to establish himself as a point guard to be reckoned with. In addition to Dinwiddie's rash of injuries, Levert, if he stays healthy, could be a factor to be reckoned with.
After putting it all in roses comes the question: Can these Nets win the ring, or will what happened with Garnett and Paul Pierce be repeated? At first glance the project looks good, although the large economic investments may mean that there is no money to reinforce rotation pieces, ultimately important. The project looks good but only time will tell if it was worth it or not.
The Brooklyn Nets have retired 7 numbers from their jerseys: Drazen Petrovic's 3, Wendell Ladner's 4, Jason Kidd's 5, John Williamson's 23, Bill Melchionni's 25, Julius Earving's 32. The retiring of a player's numbers is the highest distinction in the NBA, therefore, the characters for whom a number is retired are of utmost relevance to the team.
Richard Francis Dennis 'Rick' Barry III, was born in New Jersey on March 28, 1944. He played in the NBA and the ABA, which gives him the merit of being the only basketball player to be the leading scorer in both the NBA and the ABA and also in the NCAA College League. He played for the New York Nets from 1970 to 1972.
Julius Winfield Earving II was born on February 22, 1950 in New York, better known as Dr. J, is a former basketball player who played in the NBA for eleven seasons at small forward and five more in the ABA. He is considered one of the 50 best players in history, he won three championships, four MVP and three titles of top scorer, one of them with the Nets. He played for New York from 1973 to 1976.
Drazen Petrovic was born on October 22, 1964 in Yugoslavia and died on June 7, 1993, was a Croatian basketball player considered one of the best European players in the NBA. He played with the Nets from '90 to '93. His death shocked the basketball world and the Nets decided to retire his number immediately. Petrovic was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. He also won three Olympic medals with his national team, two beach medals and a bronze.
Barclays Center, the home of the Nets, is a multi-purpose arena located in Brooklyn, New York. This venue was inaugurated in September 2012, it is part of a business and residential complex that together with this sports space form a space known as Atlantic Yards. It is named after the multinational company Barclays.
The Barclays Center also hosts concerts and ice hockey games. It has a capacity of approximately 20,000 spectators.