Our series on the four jerseys fans of every NBA team continues today. It’s Atlantic Division week, and today we’re focusing on the New Jersey Nets. Remember, we’re not just going to list off four popular players in team history. We know that when you’re wearing a jersey, you’re going for a “look.” So every day we’re going to tell you the jersey you’ve got to have, the jersey you can’t go wrong with (in case you can’t find the first one), the jersey that will make people say “Oh, that’s awesome,” and the joke jersey that will have everyone laughing.
The New Jersey Nets have an interesting history. With roots in the ABA, the Nets bloodline has links to some colorful characters. In the NBA, the Nets have shown promise, some of it reaching frustrating levels. And that frustration is primarily what the Nets are known for. Some of it is with the team’s performance, some of it is with the team’s underachieving players, and some of it is with the team’s best players leaving town… or worse. With that, we present the four jersey’s you’ve got to have as a New Jersey Nets fan.
You Gotta Have:
Drazen Petrovic — Nets fans can only shake their heads and wonder “what if” when it comes to Petro. Yes, there had been some grumblings about him not being 100% happy in New Jersey. But we’ll never know how it would have turned out. After two stellar seasons with New Jersey, Petrovic was killed in a car accident in Europe. Many say he would have easily been the best European player in NBA history had his career run its normal course. Considering no self-respecting Nets fan could wear a jersey like Derrick Coleman’s, Petro’s #3 has to be the one everyone’s got to have.
You Can’t Go Wrong With:
Jason Kidd — I’m aware I might get a question or two about this since the ending to Kidd’s career in New Jersey wasn’t the fondest of farewells. But the fact is, the Kidd years were the best in New Jersey’s history. Starting in the 2001-2002 season through 2006-07 (his last full season in New Jersey) the Nets won 52, 49, 47, 42, 49 and 41 games, twice losing in the NBA Finals. Considering how some other players left, Kidd’s departure wasn’t so bad. Walking into bar with Kidd’s #5 might furrow a brow at first, but no Nets fan can ever downplay what Kidd meant to the franchise.
“Oh, That Is Awesome”:
Julius Erving’s ABA Jersey — Another slightly acrimonious ending to a career. Short version: The Nets got sued for “invading” the Knicks territory by joining the NBA. The Nets refused to pay Dr. J and ended up selling his contract to Philly for $3 million.
Still, though, Dr. J was part of Nets history and he may still be the coolest cat to don the colors. Plus, everything about the ABA was cool. There’s no doubt rocking this jersey would get you some serious kudos in the Garden state.
“Oh, That Is Funny”
Yinka Dare — I don’t want to make fun of the deceased. His passing was sad. But we have to look past the loss. We have to look at Yinka Dare the player. We have to focus on the guy whom the Nets drafted 14th overall and who finished with four career assists and 96 career turnovers. That’s a solid 1:24 assists:turnover ratio. He’s a seven-footer who shot 39.6% over his career. In 110 career games, he made 86 shots. Yinka was as bad as bad gets. Busts don’t come any bigger.
As an added bonus, you’ve got two numbers to choose from. He wore #11 during his rookie year but switched to #33.
There you have it. The four jerseys Nets fans have got to have. Disagree with us? Let us know who we missed in the comments.
Previous teams: Boston
Tomorrow: The New York Knicks
Jeff Garcia collaborated on this post