The New Jersey Nets have formally applied to the NBA to change the team's name, according to a report in the New York Daily News. It's still not clear yet if the Nets will change their city name, nickname or both.
The Nets are expecting to move into their new arena in Brooklyn for the start of the 2012-13 season, so perhaps the new name will simply be the "Brooklyn Nets."
But the team's new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokorhov, has been making noise about changing the nickname as well. Many smart-alecs are suggesting the "Brooklyn Nyets."
Ha ha. Nyet way.
This would not be the first time the Nets have changed their name. They were the New York Americans when they were founded in 1967 to play in the ABA with George "The Ice Man" Gervin, Dr. J, David Thompson and those crazy red, white and blue balls. Unable to find a place to play its first season in the Big Apple, the team crossed the river into New Jersey and became the New Jersey Americans.
The team moved to Long Island, New York for its second season and was renamed the New York Nets, in part to rhyme with the Mets and the Jets.
A year after the 1976 ABA-NBA merger, the Nets moved back to the Garden State, and renamed themselves the New Jersey Nets.
But with the move back to New York, the Nets hope to rebrand themselves in an effort to gain traction in their eternal battle with the Knicks for NYC supremacy. Even when the Nets went to two straight NBA finals in 2002 and 2003, they were still seen as the ugly stepchild.
Perhaps when they are actually playing in Brooklyn -- a borough that has not had its own team since the Dodgers defected to Los Angeles in 1958 -- they will garner some respect. A new name couldn't hurt.