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If you build it, they will come… as a Brooklyn resident without a team, I hope that’s the case. No one remembers Ebbets Field or what it meant to Brooklyn during its golden era. No one remembers that its absence left Brooklyn without something to root for.
Maybe that will change in the summer of 2012.
The New Jersey Nets will be moving to Brooklyn after what seemed like numerous law suits and setbacks that left many wondering if this would actually happen. Now as you walk along the grounds near Atlantic Yards, it is clear that this stadium will in fact be built and basketball will be played in Brooklyn.
Ironically, the grounds where this stadium is being built is not too far from where the owner of the Dodgers wanted to build the replacement for Ebbets Field; which as we all know never materialized due to powerful opposition.
Barclays Center, as it will be called is an 800 million dollar stadium set as the center piece in a billion dollar development project bringing a new face to the area.
Mikhail Prokhorov became the majority owner and a key investor in the development of the arena; he is what Brooklyn needs in an owner…as we have seen, he is not afraid to make controversial statements and therefore becoming a major personality in sports.
He bought the deal home after constant back and forth that left many wondering when this deal would get done…if ever.
In anticipation of this stadium being completed, I now wonder whether players will in fact want to play here. Prokhorov attempted to make this transition a lot smoother by acquiring a big name to play here before the stadium was complete. The problem is that remaining year in jersey, no player wanted to go lose on a bad team with no stadium even if one was being built. Players like everyone else need guarantees and there would be none; at least not yet.
After all the drama of the offseason and players taking their talents to south beach and the countless yet hilarious references, the Nets acquired Derron Williams from the Utah Jazz. Not Lebron or Wade, Bosh or even Carmelo but a good young point guard who might end up leaving anyway in free agency…a risky move to say the least.
Let’s just hope the gamble pays off and Williams decides to stay in Brooklyn and help this team stay somewhat relevant during the inaugural seasons.