Before 1968, there were just ten teams that made up the NBA. As the 1967-68 season started, six more teams joined, although four of them decided to join the ABA, the NBA’s rival league. The Brooklyn Nets (then-New York Americans) were one of the four teams, and they have seen their fair share of great moments throughout their history.
The Americans stuck with that name for just that one season before switching over to the New York Nets. They would stick with that name until they merged into the NBA for the 1976-77 season. The franchise re-branded to the New Jersey Nets one year later and went through a rough patch as they adjusted to the new league. For most teams, transitioning to a more prominent league would be a highlight, but it was anything but that for New Jersey.
To meet the financial requirements to join the NBA, Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving was sold to the Philadelphia 76ers for $3 million. However, I’m not here to talk about the bad. Even after Dr. J left, the Nets were able to bounce back and have remained competitive for most of their seasons. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, New Jersey gave the teams in the Eastern Conference a run for their money and also had some tremendous basketball players don their jersey.
While they aren’t the greatest franchise in history, they’re respectable, and certainly are far from being the worst. The Nets’ 49 seasons have yielded 26 playoff appearances, two championships, and nine Hall of Famers like Rick Barry, Drazen Petrovic, and Bernard King. Sprinkled in have been other moments that are honorable mentions for this list, like replacing Billy King with Sean Marks after King’s attempt to win immediately floundered and bamboozled the franchise.
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