After a planned move to Newark, New Jersey fell through the team opted to stay at the Long Island Arena for the second year, and changed its name to the New York Nets. The name “Nets” was used because it rhymes with the names of two other professional sports teams that played in the New York metropolitan area at the time: Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and the American Football League’s New York Jets, and because it relates to basketball in general, as it is part of the basket.
The team finished last in its first New York season and drew a paltry 1,108 a game, about half of what it had drawn a year earlier. They posted a 17–61 record, and shuffled 23 different players on and off the roster. Brown sold the team to clothing manufacturer Roy Boe after that season. Boe started off his ownership with big hopes for the offseason. Desperate for a star, the team pursued UCLA star Lew Alcindor, and won rights to him in a secret ABA draft. Alcindor was reportedly interested in playing in his native New York, but after contemplating his options for a month, he instead opted to sign with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Nonetheless the Nets moved on with their offseason plans to relocate to the Island Garden in West Hempstead. Led by an ABA top-3 scoring guard Levern Tart, the Nets finished in fourth place and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in the 1969–70 season, and attendance went up threefold to 3,504.
During the 1970 offseason, the team finally managed to acquire a star in Rick Barry after trading their No. 1 pick and cash to the Virginia Squires. After another playoff season at the Island Garden, the team moved to the brand new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale for the end of the 1971 – 1972 season.
In 1972, two years after the acquisition of Barry, the Nets advanced to their first ABA finals. However, they could not overcome the Indiana Pacers and lost the series four games to two. Barry left after that postseason, sending the Nets into rebuilding mode. The 1972 – 1973 season was one of disappointment, as the Nets only managed to win 30 games.
The 1973 – 1974 season saw the Nets finally put all the pieces together. The key event of the season though would come in the 1973 offseason, as the Nets acquired Julius Erving from the Virginia Squires. With Erving, who was affectionately known as “Dr. J”, the Nets ended the season with a franchise record 55 victories. After Erving was voted the ABA’s MVP, the Nets advanced in the playoffs and won their first title, defeating the Utah Stars in the 1974 ABA Finals.
The summer of 1976 saw the ABA–NBA merger finally take place. As part of the merger agreement, four teams from the ABA—the Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs – joined the NBA. The Nets and Nuggets had actually applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were forced to play a lame-duck season in the ABA by court order. Prior to their first NBA season, the Nets traded two draft picks to the Kansas City Kings for guard Nate Archibald. The Nets appeared to be poised to pick up where they left off in the ABA.
After a frustrating season in New Jersey the New York area’s ABA franchise shifted to Commack a city on New York’s Long Island. Along with the move came a name change as owner Arthur Brown took seriously a suggestion to pick a name that rhymed with the baseball Mets and football Jets. However, the Nets failed to come through in what would have been the biggest move losing out on a chance to sign UCLA star Lew Alcindor who received a better offer to play for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets were a team in transition as they made ten trades and went trough 23 players during an awful 17 – 61 season.
New Jersey – New York – New Jersey – Brooklyn
1976 – Present / National Basketball Association
1967 – 1976 / American Basketball Association
2012 – Present / Brooklyn Nets
1977 – 2012 / New Jersey Nets
1968 – 1977 / New York Nets
1967 – 1968 / New Jersey Americans
Nets – The name “Nets” was used because it rhymes with the names of two other professional sports teams that played in the New York metropolitan area at the time: Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and the American Football League’s New York Jets, and because it relates to basketball in general, as it is part of the basket.
NBA Championships 0
ABA Championships 2
2012 – Present / Barclays Center
2010 – 2012 / Prudential Center
1981 – 2010 / Izod Center
1977 – 1981 / Rutgers Athletic Center
1972 – 1977 / Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
1969 – 1972 / Island Garden
1968 – 1969 / Long Island Arena
1967 – 1968 / Teaneck Armory
2010 – Present / Mikhail Prokhorov
2003 – 2010 / Bruce Ratner
1999 – 2003 / YankeeNets
1998 – 1999 / Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz
1978 – 1998 / Secaucus Seven
1969 – 1978 / Roy Boe
1967 – 1969 / Arthur Brown
3 / Dražen Petrović
5 / Jason Kidd
23 / John Williamson
25 / Bill Melchionni
32 / Julius Erving
52 / Buck Williams
*Blue is this team’s history