The last time the NBA Finals passed through New Jersey
The Brooklyn Nets are in the middle of an NBA playoff series with their rivals, the Boston Celtics. As sports fans wait to see the outcome of the series, longtime NBA fans in New Jersey remember the last time our state was a force to be reckoned with in the basketball world- ball.
In 2012, the Nets made their debut in Brooklyn, but before that, New Jersey had been their home since 1977.
The franchise has a habit of bouncing back since its inception, but its tenure in New Jersey has been the longest.
The franchise was born in 1967, under the name of New Jersey Americans. They played their games at Teaneck as part of the American Basketball Association. A year later they moved to Long Island, becoming the New York Nets.
It was there that the team won two ABA championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76. The following year, the Nets, along with three other basketball franchises, were absorbed into the NBA in a merger agreement, abolishing the ABA. The other teams absorbed were the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.
When the Nets first moved to New Jersey, they played their home games at Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. Then, in 1981, they moved into the house many of us remember most, the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford (later named Continental Airlines Arena, then Izod Center).
Before moving to Brooklyn, the Nets ended their tenure as NJ’s only NBA team at the Prudential Center in Newark.
After the Nets arrived in New Jersey, decades of mediocre to below average basketball ensued, winning just one playoff series between 1977 and 2001, but then things started to change.
With Byron Scott at the helm as head coach, a core of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horn, Richard Jefferson and Kerry Kittles helped lift the New Jersey Nets from laughingstock to the NBA Finals , which they lost to Los Angeles. Lakers.
The following season, 2002–03, the Nets kept the momentum going, appearing in their second consecutive NBA Finals. This time losing to the San Antonio Spurs, one of four teams, along with the Nets, to be absorbed into the NBA decades earlier. It would be the last time the Nets sniffed out the championship.
While it’s disappointing that the Nets didn’t bring a ring to New Jersey in either of those seasons, it’s worth mentioning that in both cases they did come across a type of talent. dynasty at the wrong time.
Although the Nets never made it back to the NBA Finals, the team that made it to the championship in two consecutive years has forever become a part of NJ lore.
Here’s a look at last year’s roster, the Nets were in the Finals
The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer and host Joe Votruba. All opinions expressed are his own.
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