Brooklyn New Yorkers: it could have been worse

Today, in two-day old news, there’s the notion that the New Jersey Nets are thinking of becoming the Brooklyn New Yorkers. The name, the domain, and three trademark logos have been registered through various outlets. There’s no telling who put these out there, and it’s equally likely to be a hoax, a reality, or a mistaken analysis of the facts.

Brooklyn New Yorkers

But more important than truth, this possible non-story reminds me that the Nets have one of the worst names in all of sports. Someone once pointed out to me that the Nets are the only sports team named after a piece of equipment used on the field of play. There are no Goalposts or Mitts or Blue Lines in professional team names, so Nets seems little more than a continuance of some unspoken New York-area rhyming tradition (i.e. Jets, Mets, Nets). If that’s the case, might I suggest the Brooklyn Epithets, which would also be a tribute to local customs? [rim shot]

But New Yorkers feels equally uninspired. I’d like to give points for (1) being regional, and (2) being original. Although, they could have been original and regional just by calling themselves the Brooklyn Brooklynites, but that doesn’t make for a good name. As my co-worker & Nets fan Craig puts it: “They might as well call them the Brooklyn Out-of-Towners.” He also points out that this seems a weakly-veiled attempt to get under the skin of the Knicks fan base, as they imply through their logo that the New Yorkers are, in fact, New York City’s new A Team.

The regional team name works best when it’s referencing something very unique to that area, in terms of nature or history: 49ers, 76ers, Pacers, Patriots, Brewers, Packers, Saints, Celtics, Whalers (defunct, politically incorrect), and others.

Raptors Logo
Ducks logo
Let’s try to avoid naming our teams after children’s movies.

And it’s not necessarily terrible when the team name is a nickname for those who live there — Canucks, Yankees — but that starts to decline in value a bit when it just flat out says what they are: Texans, New Yorkers, Canadiens (although you give some pass here for (1) generations of team success and (2) being the French-Canadian spelling).

Just as a point of reference, the next level down contains the confusingly, yet entertainingly, misnamed teams. We all love the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, formerly from New Orleans and Minnesota, respectively. Also, to a lesser extent, Grizzlies don’t live anywhere near Memphis, and Dodgers hardly makes any sense anymore to anyone except maybe San Francisco residents and time travelers.

The conclusion here is that it’s hard to stand out and even harder to make us complainers happy. New Yorkers, in my mind, will take some getting used to, but in the long term, it should be a slight upgrade over Nets. Ultimately, I’m just glad we haven’t heard suggestions for the Brooklyn Bridges or (gasp! even worse!) opening it up to fan voting — only to end up with some current-faddish movie polluting our sports experiences for all eternity, like the Toronto Raptors did. Ugh. (The Brooklyn Avatars!?)

(via Gothamist)

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