If you believe the talk surrounding the Nets' invasion of Brooklyn and New York City, it is actually quite a big deal. The fact New York City is actually five distinct boroughs probably gets lost on most people outside The Big Apple — I am not even sure I get it as an "outsider."
If you watched Monday's game between the Knicks and the Nets though, you could feel the special tension and pride from the Brooklynites at having their own team and beating the team from the borough of Manhattan. As the chants of "BROOK-LYN" came raining down and the fans drowned out the Knicks fans that tried to invade the Barclays Center, it was perfectly clear the win meant something.
All the attention the NBA has given to professional sport's return to Brooklyn through The Association and through its BIG campaign ad, it is clear the Nets have taken firm root in Brooklyn and the borough has adopted the team as their own.
Of course, that did not keep those Knicks fans from trying to invade. And the transfer for many Brooklynites from Knicks to Nets fans may yet take some time — Monday's win was probably very big in winning fans over.
The rivalry though is quite serious. And quite personal, as Brooklyn mayor Marty Markowitz called out those Brooklynites who have not traded in ther orange and blue for black and white yet (h/t HipHopWired):
I do not quite know what powers a borough mayor has, but if I were a Brooklynite I would not want to find out if tarring and feathering is among the penalties for treason of this kind. And calling the Knicks the "Manhattan Knicks" is also a nice touch.
Yes, the rivalry is very real. And it does not seem manufactured. There seems to be actual pride from Brooklyn in having their own team.
The Barclays Center was rocking for the Nets win Monday. There was a rivalry/Playoff atmosphere about the whole game and it was not just the TNT hype.
We will see what happens when Brooklyn hosts the Knicks on Dec. 11 and when the Nets visit Madison Square Garden for the first time Dec. 19.