Jersey swamp people ready for Brooklyn invasion

The Brooklyn Paper
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Here’s an unanticipated downside to the New Jersey Nets’ plan to relocate to Brooklyn: Wave after wave of Garden Staters will come, too.

That’s at least the hope of the team’s front office, which has been aggressively courting its foam-finger-wearing New Jersey fans, even as it markets the still-Jersey-based team to Brooklynites in advance of the possible 2009 cross-rivers relocation.

“We want them [the New Jersey fans] to follow us to Brooklyn,” Nets CEO Brent Yormark told reporters at a rare roundtable discussion before a Net game last week.

“We have spent the last 12 months developing a theme — ‘If you like us in Jersey, you’ll love us in Brooklyn’ — and it’s really helped.

“I’ve told them, ‘Don’t vote with your wallets yet.’… I’m betting on the fact that they will follow us.”

If the arena is completed, Nets brass expect it to attract many events besides the Nets.

“Obviously, the anchor is Nets basketball, but this is going to be almost a community center,” Yormack said. “We’re anticipating dates, concerts, shows. We’ll have something for everyone, in and around the community.”

Not surprisingly, opponents of the Atlantic Yards project accused Yormack of not knowing the community in which he hopes to move his team.

“The arena is not a community center, it is a for-profit TV studio that is inappropriate at an overburdened intersection in a residential neighborho­od,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

“The YWCA is a community center … Mr. Yormack understands Brooklyn so poorly as to think that we need an arena to feel good about ourselves.”

— with Gersh Kuntzman

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