The New Jersey Nets played their final game as residents of the Garden State Monday night, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 105-87. Next season the Nets will move to a new home in Brooklyn and play their games at the soon-to-be-completed Barclays Center.
New Jersey’s always outspoken governor, Chris Christie, was happy to bid the Nets farewell. For those who don’t know, Christie is to governors what Rex Ryan is to football coaches.
The governor had the following to say to the Nets:
“My message to them is goodbye. You don’t want to stay, we don’t want you.”
For the past two seasons the Nets have played in Newark at the Prudential Center Arena, the place the NHL’s New Jersey Devils call home. That facility was built in 2007 and is considered one of the more state of the art arenas in all of sports.
Christie further scoffed at the Nets choosing New York over New Jersey:
“That’s one of the most beautiful arenas in America they have a chance to play in, it’s in one of the country’s most vibrant cities, and they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn? Good riddance, see you later. I think there’ll be some other NBA team who may be looking to relocated and they might look at that arena and the fanbase in the New Jersey and New York area and say, ‘This is an opportunity to increase our fanbase and try something different.’”
When Nets head coach Avery Johnson was told of Christie’s comments he had the following to say: “Well again, everyone has an opinion. We’re moving on. Hopefully we’ll move on and be successful.”
Christie has never been shy about expressing his feelings and, frankly, I can’t blame him for being upset. The Nets’ move has been such a ridiculous, long, drawn-out process (it has been in the works for years) and it has always seemed like the team’s ownership has been waiting until after the move to put money into the team.
Really, I can’t blame people in New Jersey for being upset about the move.