Under Review: Brooklyn Bounce

Buy Brooklyn Bounce here!—Ed.

by Jake Appleman

Writing a book about the first season of the Brooklyn Nets consumed 18 months of my life. I went all in with my meager finances to get a deal, attended 72 games, and even contemplated fighting the BrooklyKnight. I cannot even begin to calculate the amount of time I spent thinking about the Nets. It probably wasn’t healthy. brooklyn bounce

The journey to write Brooklyn Bounce has roots with this publication, whether dating back to a teenage version of myself enamored with SLAM 25 (Generation Nets: Champs by 2001) at a Barnes & Noble; getting credentialed for SLAMonline in college and having Brian Scalabrine school me on the ins and outs of interview technique; or evaluating games and atmosphere at the Izod Center with OG Russ Bengtson. 

So what’s inside? The book includes, but is not limited to: a team affected by a hurricane; an owner that does backflips on his jet skis; meditations on Jay Z; Deron Williams’ catch phrase and Joe Johnson’s nicknames; scuffles on Christmas Day; game-winners; two coaches passing through the guillotine; and plenty of memorable moments, not only from the Nets, but from their opponents—LeBron, Kobe and KD—too. 

I felt comfortable tackling this project because the Nets’ arrival in BK was both new and old. The franchise dates back to 1967 when they were the ABA’s New Jersey Americans and writing about their fresh start was also a chance to honor their past. And basketball in Brooklyn is eternal. 

And the future? Well, any team in a budding borough is going to grow a new fan base and the story of the first rendition of the Brooklyn Nets is a must-have for folks familiar with the franchise as well as those new to the scene and future converts. There was also a side of me that wanted to capture extensively what covering the NBA in 2013 was like because, like the game itself, the game around the game continues to evolve.

While the Barclays Center glistened and the ownership presided with superstar presence, there wasn’t a singular charismatic force driving those Nets. In a way, that made the challenge more exciting; wonderful stories often live where few look. Deron Williams is an underrated character over the long haul. Gerald Wallace is fun to listen to. Each inaugural Brooklyn Net had a unique thread in the story and it was fun watching those various threads become more and more detailed. 

After the Nets lost a triple-OT Playoff game to the Bulls in Chicago, Reggie Evans reflected on the experience. “You ain’t gonna forget about this game,” he said. “Heck naw. Naw. Not at all. If you’re a true basketball player you won’t forget about this.” I hope the readers of Brooklyn Bounce feel a similar passion.