The Brooklyn Nets are a professional American basketball team based in Brooklyn, New York. Originally founded in 1967, the Nets play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
Formerly known as the New Jersey Americans, Brooklyn was a part of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and won two ABA Championships before the league merged with the NBA in 1976. Along with the Nets, three other teams from the ABA are still around today: the San Antonio Spurs, the Indiana Pacers, and the Denver Nuggets.
Moving back to New Jersey in 1977, the team was known as the New Jersey Nets until 2012 when the team decided to return to Brooklyn. The Nets currently play out of the Barclays Center, which opened in 2012 and is also home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.
Despite winning back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003, the Nets have never won an NBA Title since joining the league over 40 years ago. Their best chance appeared to have been in the mid-2000’s, as Brooklyn won four Atlantic Division crowns between 2002 and 2006.
Best Players and Coaches in Brooklyn Nets History
The Nets have 17 players, coaches, and contributors featured in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Brooklyn has also retired six different jersey numbers, including the No. 5, which was worn by star guard Jason Kidd. Kidd was an integral part of the Nets squad that dominated the Eastern Conference between 2002-2006. A member of the team for eight full seasons, Kidd is a ten-time NBA All-Star and a five-time All-NBA First Team member. He was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 and still is the all-time franchise leader for both assists (4,620) and steals (950).
Another famous Net is none other than Julius “Dr. J” Irving, who played with the team between 1973-1976 during their ABA years. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993, Irving led the Nets to an American Basketball Association title in 1973-74. He also currently sits in seventh place on the all-time franchise scoring leader list (7,104 points) despite playing only a handful of seasons with the team. His number was retired by the organization back in 1987.
After being perennial basement dwellers in the Eastern Conference for most of the past decade, a summer filled with massive free agency acquisitions has restored optimism across the board. In a span of just a few short weeks, Brooklyn managed to sign Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan to lucrative long-term contracts. While Durant will likely be out for the entire 2019-20 season due to a gruesome Achilles injury suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals, Irving has already made a monumental impact with his new team.
With his usage rate through the roof due to the departure of D’Angelo Russell, Kyrie scored 50 points while also adding eight rebounds and seven assists in his Nets debut. With the Eastern Conference appearing to be wide-open after the departure of Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles, Brooklyn finally has a legitimate chance to relive their former glory years and make some legitimate noise in the postseason over the next several seasons.