Look, for most of the last 30 years, it’s been really hard to be a fan of the NBA team called the Nets.
For so long, they played in the swamps of New Jersey, virtually ignored by fans, media, and free agents. Their games were impossible to get to, they were mocked, they played second-fiddle to the Knicks, and being a fan of theirs for people like me was truly a lonely experience (I’ve been a Nets fan since 1990, when I committed my only example ever of sports bigamy: Fed up with the selfish attitudes and egos of the Knicks, I fell in love with the Kenny Anderson-Derrick Coleman Nets and switched my allegiance.)
For very brief periods of time, there were some glimmers of joy. Jason Kidd led them to the NBA Finals in 2002-03, and that was fun.
And when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were acquired to herald a new era in Brooklyn, I was moderately pumped, though that whole era turned out to be a dud.
Other than that, being a Nets fan has been mostly misery.
Last year, when a spunky group of young players surprised everyone and made the playoffs, was a lot of fun.
But then a day like Sunday happens. And it’s so freaking glorious. In the span of a few hours, two of the Top 10 players in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, announce they’re coming to Brooklyn.
And yeah, Durant has to sit out next year after tearing his Achilles, and there are questions about Kyrie’s knees and his attitude and … not even going to waste a minute worrying or getting down about any of that.
BECAUSE THE NETS SIGNED DURANT AND IRVING!!!! This was a franchise that, three years ago, won 21 games and was totally without a clue in the front office.
And now, if Durant is healthy after next year, this is a team that could win an NBA title.
And maybe best of all, for months (months!) I’ve had to listen to Knicks fans taunt me that Durant and Irving were coming to their miserable franchise, that the Knicks were going to get Zion, that all these things were going to happen to finally turn them around.
And they did not. And the Knicks still stink, and it was proven once again that no big-time star wants to play for owner James Dolan.
The Nets, baby. The Nets. Whew. What a shockingly good sports day.
**Next up today, I’m pretty far from a fan of rapper/strange person Nikki Minaj, but you kind of have to be in awe of this little performance she did on Jimmy Fallon last week.
Playing Jimmy’s game ‘Wheel of Freestyle” where she’d have to take three random words and work them into a rap, Minaj nailed this despite getting “hexagon,” “yeti” and “edible arrangement.”
**Finally today, it’s July which means Wimbledon, which in my house means wall-to-wall tennis, me teaching my kids how to properly pronounce “Djokovic” and “Osaka,” and a whole lot of early mornings jugging children and tennis-viewing.
This year, like every year, promises a terrific fortnight (the only time I ever get to use that word is in tennis tournaments), with storylines aplenty: Can Roger Federer, back on his “home field,” win Wimbledon title No. 8? Can Novak Djokovic repeat? Can any of the young Americans like Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz or my man Reilly Opelka do some damage?
And on the women’s side, tons of intrigue as well: Will Serena be back in form and finally get that 24th Slam title? Is Naomi Osaka ready to shake off a recent slump? And could the Wimbledon draw gods have given us anything better than 15-year-old Coco Gauff) above, the future of American tennis, against 39-year-old Venus Williams in the first round today (ESPN, probably around 2 p.m).
Should be a wonderful tournament. I’m picking Djokovic and Osaka but I have very little faith I’ll be right. (12:10 p.m. Monday update: Osaka already lost. See why I tell you people NEVER to gamble on the outcome of sporting events?)