Despite lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy, the Brooklyn Nets will open the Barclays Center Thursday night against the New York Knicks, according to NBA Senior Vice President for Basketball Communications Tim Frank.
Knicks-Nets game will be played as scheduled this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Barclays Center
— Tim Frank (@tfrank14) October 31, 2012
This is a bold, bold move, and I hope the NBA has a full and complete understanding of what the scene in New York is like. To give you an idea, the Barclays Center is accessible from 11 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road — it’s in the heart of Brooklyn and is rooted in its accessibility by mass transit. As of Tuesday night, the subways and rail (LIRR) were still not operating, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s timetable for reopening (four days) is cautious optimism, and wouldn’t make it in time for the game anyway. For the few people in New York City who own cars (of which there aren’t many), most bridges have been reopened (three connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, one connects Manhattan and Queens), but tunnels are still closed, with no timetable for reopening.
Needless to say, the pomp and fanfare of the event could be debilitatingly smaller compared to what the scene would’ve looked like under normal circumstances. You bet the last thing Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-Z and the Nets want is for their homecoming at the Barclays to look like a scene from the usually barren Prudential and Izod Centers.
Of course, if people can make it to the game — safely, of course — the decision to carry on could make for a great story. If the game can get even 75 percent of the building filled, the atmosphere there would be palpable. It would make for an amazing story if the city could rise from the ashes and come together for this landmark event. I know it sounds unpleasantly sappy, but trust us, this city needs its sap desperately.
When once the Nets were criticized for picking the Knicks as their homecoming opponent, this game could wind up being celebrated as one of the greatest sporting events in New York history. The most we can hope for is safe travels for all the fans who will brave conditions to get to the game, and of course, a good game.