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Now Is the Perfect Time to Get Into the Nets

Let me explain.

2:57 PM EST on February 9, 2023

A Brooklyn Nets fan

(Shinya Suzuki / Flickr)

When I saw the news that Kyrie Irving had been traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and then that Kevin Durant had been traded to the Phoenix Suns, my first thought was, "Wow." Then after that, "Damn, maybe I should get into the Nets."

My next thought: "This is in fact the perfect time for me to get into the Brooklyn Nets."

Counterintuitive, given the departure of the team's star players? Maybe. Self-defeating, since every reasonable commentator on the planet seems to think this portends a season of defeat? Perhaps. But consider this: My basketball mind has become completely blank, and is a yawning vacuum ready to be filled by the Nets.

Let me explain. I've been a casual NBA and NFL fan for all of my life (I grew up in San Antonio, where everyone is a de facto Spurs fan because there is nothing else to do), but after I moved to New York City, I was bereft. The Knicks fandom seemed a little too intense and self-defeating, and also would require me to go to MSG (no thank you). I wasn't about to become a hockey fan, and the "New York" football teams all played in Jersey. (Unclear why? Seems weird?)

Then the Nets moved to Brooklyn. To be honest, I kind of ignored all of that. (I had a busy job at the time.) Passively, like a barnacle deposited on a pier, I gained the knowledge that the Nets owner was trying to build a kind of superteam, playing inside the cacophonous and damned Barclays Center, and that Kyrie Irving was both an anti-vaxxer and antisemite, and even that little amount of knowledge was quickly evacuated from my mind.

But now, essentially lobotomized to the point of losing all basketball knowledge, I think I'm ready. And so are the Nets. Today, the barriers to entry are low, as are the stakes. Before, you had to ask yourself, what exactly will I say to the Black Israelites holding a tribute vigil to Kyrie outside the arena? Now, the only moral quandaries you have to think about are the usual ones about wealth and sports and human rights violations in other countries, and therefore you can easily brush them aside so you can turn your attention to what really matters—enjoying a game played by very good athletes, whose names you don't need to know or learn, on a team that you don't really have to care about all that much. The Nets are a void I now happily throw myself into. 

I've been informed that the Nets are currently ranked fifth in the Eastern Conference, and have a winning record. That's pretty good! Maybe they can keep it up. But also, who cares? Watching them plunge in the standings will be fun too—because again, do you actually have to care deeply about the Nets, or any of its players, to enjoy the exquisite drama of Sport? You can simply buy a beer or two (which you can afford now because the tickets will be cheap-ish), heckle the refs, and soak in the wonderfully cursed vibes of a cursed team. Let's go anonymous NY basketball team B! 

(Photo credit: Shinya Suzuki / Flickr)

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