Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov isn't the only one planning the championship parade route for the city newest pro sports franchise. Members of the team are also buzzing about bringing home a championship in their first year in Brooklyn.
Nets players an coaches met with the media on October 1. In true Brooklyn fashion, individualized cheesecakes from Junior's were laid out with the players name and number, cementing the fact that the borough has embraced the team.
Onlookers watched from outside the Barclays Center as the players posed for pictures, pretended to shoot lay-ups, and talked with reporters.
Head coach Avery Johnson told reporters that he believes his team will benefit from a home court advantage.
“We know on most nights 95 percent of the crowd will be Brooklyn Nets fans and hopefully wear tons of Brooklyn Nets gear,” he said.
Johnson said that his players must look at the community of Brooklyn and use that as an inspiration to push themselves toward a championship.
“We want to be a team that takes on the personality of Brooklyn, which is a hard-working community,” he said. “We know what we mean to this community. A lot of young people are going to be wearing Deron Williams and Joe Johnson jerseys. There is a sense of responsibility on and off the floor.”
The last question Johnson was asked was by Nets starting point guard Deron Williams, who sat in the front row during the press conference. Williams asked which was the best basketball team in New York on behalf of the “Deron Williams News.” Johnson laughed and then sidestepped the question, making it clear his focus was on “an NBA championship and not just a city championship.”
Williams was then asked the question he posed to his coach a few minutes earlier.
“I'm not going to get into that either,” he said, but later said he thinks the rivalry is not only a good thing for basketball, but a good thing for the city itself.
“I think we can be a great team,” Williams said of the Nets. “We have the right mix of youth and veterans.”
Williams and fellow guard Joe Johnson - the “Brooklyn Back Court” - are the primary focus for Nets fans. Both told reporters that they were not afraid to play in New York, even with it's passionate fans and relentless sports media.
Fans won't have to wait long to see who has the best team in the city: the Nets play their first home game against crosstown rival the Knicks at the Barclays Center on November 1.
“We're excited about being part of the community and we're going to do our best to represent Brooklyn in a first class manner,” said Johnson.