Brooklyn Nets: Here is not a place Nets fans have been before

Brooklyn Nets Billy Paultz. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1971 NBAE (Photo by Paul Bereswill/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Billy Paultz. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1971 NBAE (Photo by Paul Bereswill/NBAE via Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets New Jersey Americans (Photo by Bill Meurer/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images) /

Teaneck not exactly in Midtown

Arthur Brown was the owner of ABC Freight Forwarding and was also into thoroughbred racing and had sponsored some semi-pro basketball teams.

More. 10 best Nets from 1996-2006. light

The original plan for the franchise was that the New York Freighters (yeahhhhh, probably for the best that never happened) would play home games at the historic Lexington Armory, located on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th streets,

Gordon Brown, the son of the franchise’s founder, said he and his father discovered an impregnable wall in between the ABA’s desire to put a team in New York and the Freighters’ ability to deliver. That wall? The New York Knicks.

Brown told Pete D’Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger in 2012:

"“Madison Square Garden was very powerful, and they didn’t want a competing team in the New York area. So they used every bit of political clout they had to not let us play. They erected barriers everywhere. Nobody would lease to us, even if they had space open.”"

So the team landed in Teaneck, N.J., at the Teaneck Armory and was hastily re-christened as the New Jersey Americans. The team tied for the final playoff spot in the ABA’s Eastern Division in 1967-68 and was set to host the Kentucky Colonels in a one-game playoff to determine which team would advance.

But with the circus in town (literally, a circus was booked into the Teaneck Armory), the Americans scheduled the playoff game for Long Island Arena in Commack. And walked into the basketball version of a disaster area.

As Hank Whitney, a member of that Nets precursor squad, said:

"“First of all, there were holes and warped sections everywhere. And the hockey team (Long Island Ducks) played the night before, so the condensation was an inch thick. On the layup line, we’d just stop at the foul line and slide all the way to the rim. It was a joke. “The commissioner had no choice but to call it a forfeit, and give the last playoff spot to (Kentucky).”"

Another thing was going to be necessary for Arthur Brown as well. When the New York papers deigned to give his team any ink, the team name was shortened to “Amerks” in the headlines, which Brown did not like, claiming it looked “communist,” according to Terry Pluto’s narrative history of the ABALoose Balls.

The team never wanted to be in Teaneck in the first place and Brown opted to move the team for its second season to Long Island.

He renamed the club the New York Nets and found them a spanking new home … Long Island Arena.

Truth is stranger than fiction with this franchise at times.