By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
DOWNTOWN — The line stretched around the block at the Modell’s Sporting Goods store across Flatbush Avenue from the Barclays Center on Monday morning. When the doors opened, Brooklyn Nets fans were in a spending mood.
A cheer went up as Nets center Brook Lopez became the first player to officially don a Brooklyn Nets cap, as the Nets unveiled their new colors and logos.
"Hello Brooklyn!" Lopez beamed. "I've been waiting a long time to say that. It's very exciting."
There are two logos: one showing a basketball bearing the letter "B" inside a shield, with the word "Brooklyn" underneath, and the other a basketball with the letter "B" inside a circle and the words "Brooklyn" and "New York" on the outside of the circle.
In addition, all sorts of variations are available, such as a jersey bearing the words "Brownstone Ballers," and another with the words "The Brklyn Way." Modell’s staffers gave out black-and-white cookies, a symbol of the "Old Brooklyn," plus bottles of water from the Brooklyn Bottling Company .
Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Nets CEO, said that entertainer Jay-Z, a part-owner of the team and a longtime Nets booster, designed the logos and the black-and-white color scheme.
"With its daring color display, the Brooklyn Nets logos are the new badges for Brooklyn, and who better to design them than one of the world’s top tastemakers, Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z," Yormark said. The color scheme replaces the red, white and blue colors the team had in New Jersey.
The typeface on the logos draws upon the signs that were prevalent in the city’s subway system when Brooklyn last had its own major professional sports team – in 1957.
Among the others who spoke were Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner, who reminded the audience that it was almost 10 years since he and Borough President Marty Markowitz starting pushing the idea of the team’s moving to Brooklyn; Irina Pavlova, who supervises operations for the Nets' principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov; and Nets head coach Avery Johnson, who said he looked forward to the day when "every game at Barclays Center is sold out, and you’ll have fans yelling, 'Brooklyn! Brooklyn! Brooklyn!'"
"Ladies and gentleman, the curse of O'Malley is officially over today," Ratner said.
After the ceremony, Markowitz, who was 12 years old when the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for Los Angeles after the 1957 season, said that "most of the people living in the borough now are younger people" who are missing out on the excitement that the team generated in the old days. "In those days," he said, "baseball was the number one sport. Don’t get me wrong, baseball is still big, but at least in Brooklyn, basketball and football are more popular."
Mitch Modell, CEO of Modell’s, stressed that the Nets merchandise is available at all Modell’s outlets. A spokesman for the Nets added that "within 72 hours," it will be available at all major sporting goods stores.
"Hopefully, around this time next year you guys will be at our press conference for the 2013 playoffs," coach Avery Johnson told assembled media. The Nets finished 22-44 this season.
Nets have been touting the move to Brooklyn as a way to lure big-time free agents to the team. That didn't work out, as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and others passed on the team's offers.
"We've been talking about it, but now the reality is we are the Brooklyn Nets," said General Manager Billy King. "The arena is on schedule. It's going to be one of the best arenas in the league."