The Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. They compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team was established in 1967 as a charter franchise of the NBA’s rival league, the American Basketball Association (ABA). They were known as the New Jersey Americans during their first season, before moving to Long Island in 1968 and changing their name to the New York Nets. During this time, the Nets won two ABA championships (in 1974 and 1976). In 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA, and the Nets were absorbed into the NBA along with three other ABA teams (the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets, all of whom remain in the league today).
In 1977, the team returned to the nearby state of New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. During this time, the Nets won two consecutive Eastern Conference championships (in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons), but failed to win a championship. In the summer of 2012, the team moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and took their current name.
Dr. J is the Nets’ greatest superstar. An elite all-around player, he led the Nets to two ABA titles in the 1970s. Dr. J’s extraordinary basketball skills established him as the most significant player in the ABA and brought awareness and credibility to the league. He is also responsible for bringing dunking to the mainstream. The end of the 1975-76 ABA season finally brought the ABA-NBA merger. He averaged 28 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists a game during his tenure with the Nets. Dr. J ranks seventh in franchise history for points scored with 7,104.
Jason Kidd is the greatest point guard in Nets’ history. When he joined the Nets in 2001, he instantly transformed the team from perennial league doormats into championship contenders. As the floor general of the Nets, he led them to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. His importance to the Nets was paramount; he played in 80 games or more during his five-year tenure with the team. His career averages as a Net are 14.4 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 9.2 assists per game, and 1.9 steals per game. Jason Kidd is the Nets franchise leader in assists (4,620) and steals (950).
Dražen Petrović was one of the best international players ever. A highly successful Croatian basketball player who played several years in Europe before being drafted in the third round of the 1986 NBA draft, Dražen Petrović was a pure shooter. While starting for the Nets, he became one of the league’s best shooting guards and was in consideration for being the best shooter ever. He averaged more than 20 points per game and 45 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Dražen Petrović’s career and life was cut short after he died in a car accident in Germany at the age of 28.
Buck Williams played his best basketball as a member of the New Jersey Nets. This 1982 NBA Rookie of the Year established himself as a premier player at the power forward position during his tenure with the Nets. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, and was also a defensive force averaging one block. Buck Williams is a three-time NBA All-Star and the Nets franchise leader in points scored (10,440), minutes played (23,100) and rebounds (7,576).
Derrick Coleman was drafted No. 1 overall in 1990 by the New Jersey Nets. He had a solid rookie season where he earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1991. Throughout his five years tenure with the New Jersey Nets, Derrick Coleman averaged 19.9 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. He led the Nets to three postseason appearances in the early 1990s and made the All-Star team in 1994. Derrick Coleman ranks third in rebounds (3,690) and fifth in blocks (559) in franchise history.