NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – How about those Brooklyn Nets! They were seemingly out of gas following an emotional triple overtime loss in Chicago last weekend, but they have roared back with two straight wins and have forced a game 7 against the Bulls at Barclays Center.
These are exciting times in Brooklyn, especially so for Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.
“Very excited,” Yormark told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott on Friday. “Obviously last night was a big night for the team and for the borough of Brooklyn. Having a seventh game here in Brooklyn on our court is something that, obviously, we were hoping for. Our players delivered. And I think the fans are going to deliver in a big time way tomorrow night.”
They say this is why you play well in the regular season, to get that home court advantage.
“That’s exactly right. I mean, we won 49 games this year. We were the fourth seed. Obviously, we have home court advantage in this particular series and we’re going to need it tomorrow night,” he said. “But I feel good. I mean, our fans are going to come out. We’ll have another sellout crowd tomorrow night. Brooklyn’s been waiting for dramatic moments in sports for a long, long time and I’m just thrilled that we’re going to be able to give them a great great moment tomorrow night.”
The last game seven played in Brooklyn was October 10, 1956 when the Brooklyn Dodgers lost to the New York Yankees at Ebbets Field.
It was only a couple of years ago that the New Jersey Nets were at the bottom of the NBA. Did the move to Brooklyn re-invigorate the franchise?
“Absolutely. I think it’s totally re-invented the team, the franchise, the brand. Obviously, much has been written about our merchandise – people wearing black and white throughout the city,” he said. “Obviously, the Barclays Center is a fabulous fabulous venue for basketball. We’ve been having sellout crowds all season long. So even though it was only about a 15 mile shift into Brooklyn from New Jersey, it’s been dramatic and it’s something that we’d all hoped for.”
He said it was felt there was a built-in fan base among Brooklyn’s 2.6 million people.
“They’ve truly supported the franchise in a big time way. So, we’re very thankful of that,” he said.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz is fond of calling Brooklyn America’s fourth largest city. What kind of vibe has been brought in by the team and the arena?
“They’ve brought an incredible vibe. First and foremost, Brooklyn has been underserved in the area of sports and entertainment for so many years since the Dodgers left in 1957,” Yormark said. “Even though it took us a little longer to get to Brooklyn than we had anticipated, I think we built up a bit of a fan base. We were seeding our band here for quite some time until we ultimately arrived this past fall and the fans have really embraced us.”
He said Brooklynites had really been craving for a team that they could call their own.
“I’m just so thrilled on behalf of our management, ownership, all the employees that we’re able to deliver this kind of moment to Brooklyn. They deserve it,” Yormark said of game seven.
Game seven has actually forced the postponement of a Rihanna concert.
How do you balance extended playoff runs with advanced bookings of things like concerts?
“Well, you know, it’s not easy,” Yormark said. “We knew that if we had gotten to a seventh game, obviously, we would have a bit of a conflict. But we’ve worked with Rihanna’s management team. They certainly understand it. I put out a release last night. I apologized to all of our fans for the inconvenience that we have to move the concert from Saturday til Tuesday. But obviously a seventh game in the NBA playoffs is a pretty big moment for us and I’m just happy that we’re going to be able to both.”
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