How the Nets Might Still Entertain Us

How the Nets Might Still Entertain Us
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On Friday night, the New Jersey Nets finally won their first game of the season, defeating the
Charlotte Bobcats 97-91 and ending an NBA-record-setting run of futility. Yet far from ending the Nets’ woes,
this victory actually creates more questions than it answers. First and foremost, how can the 1-18
Nets justify playing another 63 brutal, meaningless games? More importantly, how can they get
enough fans to watch those 63 games?

With
these questions in mind, here are three suggestions:

1. Sign Julius Erving.

Sure,
it’s been twenty-two years since his last NBA game, so he’s probably a bit out
of practice. But if the Nets are
destined to lose anyway, then they might as well lose with the franchise’s only
true legend on their roster. And
Dr. J. would be worth whatever salary it takes to put him in uniform – Nets
ticket sales would go through the roof instantly, as fans would pack the Izod
Center just hoping to see flashes of Erving’s former brilliance. And even if that former brilliance
isn’t forthcoming, Dr. J. would give the Nets a more plausible explanation for
their haplessness: how can anyone expect a team to win when its best player is
pushing 60?

2. Move future home games to
an outdoor schoolyard.

The
longer the Nets go without playing like a professional basketball team, the
harder it becomes for them to justify playing in a professional arena – at
least morally.

In
turn, the Nets would win substantial credibility if they acknowledged their
sorry state by playing their home games in the most basic, bare-bones setting
possible: the schoolyard. The
various factors that uniquely influence schoolyard basketball games just might
create enough intrigue to boost television ratings. Indeed, fans would want to see how Devin Harris handles the
challenge of dribbling on an uneven asphalt surface, or how the wind affects
Courtney Lee’s jump shots. And the
stakes would be raised considerably during the coldest days of winter, when ice
and snow could become decisive variables.

Of
course, schoolyard games probably won’t boost attendance. But insofar as most schoolyards only
have seating for a few hundred fans, the Nets might finally boast an occasional
sell-out. And by making the shift
to schoolyard home games permanent, the Nets could move to Brooklyn early and
spare New Yorkers the expense of an $800-million-dollar arena.

3. Move future home games to
Iraq under the auspices of the U.S.O.

By
playing games for U.S. military personnel in Iraq, the Nets could find a new
fan-base and – most importantly – serve an important cause. Moreover, the time difference between
Iraq and New Jersey would give the Nets a good excuse for their miserable
television ratings. Finally, since
the Nets will never be the best team in the nation, they might as well become
the best team in another nation.

Obviously, this is just a
preliminary list and I’m open to other suggestions. What do you think the Nets could do to keep
their fans entertained?

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