Newark Mayor Still Hoping for an NBA Team to Replace Nets

by June 21, 2011

Cory Booker, Newark’s mayor, continues to believe that his town should be the host for an NBA team once the New Jersey Nets make their way to Brooklyn. The Bergen Record reports: “One by one, commissioner David Stern will call the names of the newest NBA players Thursday in a building that won’t have a team after the 2011-12 season. But Newark has some major players and is looking for more in its quest for an NBA team to call Prudential Center home after the Nets leave for Brooklyn. The most prominent booster is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Governor Chris Christie, Devils owner and chairman of Devils Arena Entertainment Jeff Vanderbeek, and Newark native Shaquille O’Neal are behind Booker and want The Rock to continue its relationship with the NBA. ‘We’re definitely engaging in conversations with folks who have put out feelers about the potential for our arena to host an NBA team,’ Booker said during a phone interview. ‘There are definitely a number of teams struggling in their current arenas. That gives me signs of hope. I think it’s an uphill battle, but I think it’s a winnable battle.’ Booker believes Prudential Center hosting the NBA Draft will help the city and state’s pursuit. The Theater at Madison Square Garden usually hosts the draft, but MSG is undergoing an $850 million renovation — and still won’t be available the next two summers. The WNBA’s New York Liberty will play home games in Newark those three years, and if Thursday goes well, there’s a good chance Prudential Center will host the NBA Draft beyond this one. Arena officials expect a good turnout for the draft and related events outside.”