The Nets’ packed area at their Practice in the Park confirmed they do certainly have a burgeoning fan base. The smattering of boos Steve Nash were given and the lukewarm reception to Kevin Durant on Sunday end up they’ve force to move with it.
Roughly 8,000 tickets had been disbursed to the 6th annual Practice in the Park, each a file for the loose open-to-the-public tournament and the most capability for Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2. The enthusiasts were given to observe the Nets undergo gentle drills with the iconic view of decrease Manhattan as the backdrop.
They additionally were given to make their voices heard. Doubled-edge sword.
Nash’s talent to deal with a star-laden workforce and lead a champion has come into query in some circles of the fan base. Other segments are vexed that Durant asked a business this offseason, after which attempted to get each Nash and common supervisor Sean Marks fired.
But on Sunday, each Nash and Marks had been readily available at the fan tournament. Nash’s youngsters had been there as neatly, sarcastically dressed in Durant jerseys.
“The guys have worked really hard, they’re locked in to all the details. We’re trying to form an identity and understanding each other, coming together,” Nash informed workforce colour commentator Tim Capstraw. “It’s a challenge but they’ve worked really hard. If we stick with it then we’ll be a great team.”
For his section, heart Day’Ron Sharpe — the handiest participant made to be had to the media at the tournament — used to be assured Brooklyn can succeed in that fab stage.
Asked if this is able to be a championship season for the Nets, Sharpe hopefully replied, “Yeah. For sure.”
Sharpe noticed COVID-19 wreak havoc on his rookie marketing campaign, and prohibit unvaccinated megastar Kyrie Irving to only 29 video games — six at Barclays Center. Now with New York City’s vaccine mandates long gone, Irving eligible at house and the Nets reputedly extra complete to start out the season, Sharpe is assured in a greater consequence.
“I’d say a non-COVID year, like a real year. I’ve been telling some of the teammates everything was different because of COVID, so I need to see how things are without COVID,” Sharpe mentioned. “We’re just crashing hard every day, getting better together, getting better chemistry at the team.”
Irving — who couldn’t come to a long-term contract extension with Brooklyn this summer season and collected the choice on the $36 million ultimate 12 months of his deal — were given the loudest ovation of the afternoon. Durant were given some cheers, however they had been about as lukewarm as the fall climate and breeze coming off the East River.
Still, each Nash and Sharpe mentioned how relaxing it used to be to be at the tournament, and the way being out on a playground evoked youth reminiscences.
“For sure. Playing outside with friends many days in the winter, in the rain whatever it was, just had to be out there playing,” Nash mentioned. “So it’s always great to be back out on the playground.”
After failing to ever acquire appropriate traction in their New Jersey days, occasions like this are serving to the Nets set down roots. This marks their tenth season in Barclays Center, with the 20-year-old Sharpe announcing he can recall their Jersey days and is excited to assist them construct their fan base in Brooklyn.
“I could remember when the Nets were in Jersey, too. I’m not that young, but I can remember the Nets starting in Jersey,” mentioned Sharpe. “So for me to be part of Brooklyn, it’s been a long time I didn’t even realize it was that long either myself.”