It’s official: The New Jersey Nets will be changing location — and hopefully their fortunes — but not their name.
Nets executives and rap mogul Jay-Z, who owns a very small stake in the team, revealed on Monday that the Barclays Center-bound basketball team will be called the Brooklyn Nets.
The team’s biggest booster was pleased.
“As long as the name included ‘Brooklyn,’ the rest to me was immaterial,” said Borough President Markowitz.
Partial team owner Bruce Ratner, who is developing the team’s arena at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, said he was happy that the name would not change, even as everything else will.
“ ‘Nets’ is a good name,” he said. “It’s got a whole legacy, a history. It’s a new arena, a new borough, but an old name.”
Fan reaction was mixed.
“What else would you call them?” said William Hill, an assistant basketball coach at the ASA Institute in Downtown. “The name is in sync with where they are and what they’re going to be.”
Mina Eid, who works near the arena, agreed.
“Just the sound of the ‘Brooklyn Nets’ is good,” she said. “I wouldn’t change it.”
But others felt the team missed a big opportunity to rebrand itself after a 2010-11 season where the Nets went 24–58 — a season of disappointment that followed the previous year’s historic (historically bad, that is) 12–70 finish.
“The name could be better,” said Bert McRae. “The Nets were garbage in New Jersey. They should change it up.”
And opponents of Ratner’s larger Atlantic Yards plans — which include thousands of units of affordable housing and the promise of hundreds of construction jobs, but is currently stalled because of the nation’s economic crisis — slammed the developer.
“The naming thing is a magic trick,” said Michael Galinsky, one of the directors of the documentary, “Battle for Brooklyn.”
“They’re not talking about jobs. What about all the jobs they promised? What about the housing?”