Friday, September 7, 2012

Potential Mascots for New York's Newest Team

The Barclays Center opens in three weeks and will mark the beginning of a new era of basketball in New York City. There has been a long run-up to the New Jersey Nets crossing state lines and officially having a home in Brooklyn.

Unseating the Knicks from their position of power and shifting NYC's basketball paradigm to a new borough will be challenging, though. Do the Nets have what it takes, now that have multiple All-Stars on the roster, a Russian billionaire owner paying the bills and Beyonce's husband doing more than his ownership share requires?

We can all agree that they do not.

The key ingredient is having the right mascot. When you have a nickname like the "Nets" the mascot can really be anything. The Spurs have a coyote, the Rockets have Clutch the Bear and the Magic have a dragon.

It makes sense why Brooklyn doesn't go directly off the nickname and have a giant net running around. That would be as effective as the Lakers having a puddle hanging out court side. The current Nets mascot is Sly the Fox, but rumor has it that Marvel Comics is helping design a new Brooklyn Knight mascot.

 Thanks to BDD friend Kate Kearns, here's what the two options for Brooklyn to consider could look like:

Illustration by Kate Kearns

 The Brooklyn Knight idea seems like a good move. The team is moving into Knicks territory and is used to taking a back seat to the more famous New York team. The Nets need a powerful, intimidating mascot to fight for respect in the Big Apple. The Knight also lends itself well to fan interaction and is more marketable than a fox (the Barclays Center is its castle and he is protecting the Nets brand). Plus, who wouldn't want to see a mascot stab a basketball with a sword to fire up the crowd? Brooklyn needs to earn credibility in its new home and an upgrade at mascot is a good start.

Illustration by Kate Kearns
Sly is the current mascot for the Nets and is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Brooklyn Knight. Sly might better represent how the Nets are going to have to win over the city. The team isn't going to be like a knight and swoop in to take the allegiances and the city by force. Instead, the Nets will need to be clever with its plays on and off the court to earn respect. Having a knight as your mascot can pay off well, but it is also risky and looks corny if not pulled off correctly. When you stick with an animal mascot, you know what you're getting and they are always kid favorites.

Kyle Davis contributed to this article 

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