Two weeks ago owner Mikhail Prokhorov delivered his famous “don’t let the door hit you where the lord split you” line in reference to Jason Kidd’s ugly departure from the Brooklyn Nets back in June.
That line created reverberations throughout social media, and for a segment of Net fans, such as 19-year-old Zac Cullen of Marlboro N.J, Kidd’s return as coach of the Bucks on Wednesday is not just another game.
Cullen is part of “The Brooklyn Brigade” a contingent of diehard fans that agree with Prokhorov and are planning on expressing their feelings towards someone who is the among the greatest players in franchise history but not viewed as among the greatest people in franchise history.
“The whole thing it’s just amazing,” Cullen said. “He can have his jersey retired by the team, he did everything for the Nets two finals appearances and he just leaves us like that to go coach the Bucks after a season where the team was struggling and there were questions with him.”
Those fans will be sitting in section 29 of the Barclays Center and the event is listed on facebook as“Jason Kidd Appreciation Night”.The word appreciation is placed in quote marks for sarcasm, it illustrates the thorny place Kidd has in Nets history and the event is described as making it clear “we think he is a traitor.”
Kidd revived the franchise upon arriving in 2001, leading them to two Eastern Conference championships in his first two years. But he is also regarded as the person who departed under ugly circumstances as a player in 2008 and as acoach nearly six years later.
“This isn’t the first time he’s done this to us,” Cullen said. “He’ll always have a place in my heart but I can’t forgive him for this. What he did was terrible.I don’t like him as a person, a coach but as a player I think all Net fans can agree he’s basically everyone’s favorite player. It’s why most people I know are Nets fans.”
Cullen’s first Nets games were the 2003 Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons and NBA finals against the Spurs. And during the 12-70 season, he estimated he went to 20 games and all were losses.
Of course anybody who has seen the Nets over the last week knows they have bigger things to concern themselves with besides Kidd’s return, although Cullen thinks the players will be eager to beat someone who he thinks quit on them.
The Nets have lost four straight and perhaps Monday’s 95-83 loss to Miami was the most disheartening as they were blown out in the second half against a shorthanded team as Brook Lopez was benched in the fourth quarter. The ball movement still lacked, proving Joe Johnson’s point about being selfish to be accurate.
In other words, the Nets are learning it’s a process. One that has repeated itself three straight seasons under four different coaches.