Brooklyn Bounce: The Highs and Lows of Nets Basketball's Historic First Season in the Borough

Brooklyn Bounce: The Highs and Lows of Nets Basketball's Historic First Season in the Borough

by Jake Appleman
     
 

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An in-depth account of the Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural season—and the meaning of professional basketball’s arrival into the urban center of Brooklyn—written by a talented New York Times, GQ, and Slam sportswriter.

When the Brooklyn Nets played their first game at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn in the fall of 2012,

Overview

An in-depth account of the Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural season—and the meaning of professional basketball’s arrival into the urban center of Brooklyn—written by a talented New York Times, GQ, and Slam sportswriter.

When the Brooklyn Nets played their first game at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn in the fall of 2012, they succeeded in bringing a major professional sports franchise back to Brooklyn for the first time since the Dodgers abandoned the borough in 1957.

Now, Brooklyn Bounce chronicles the Nets’ historic inaugural season in the borough, full of highs and lows—plenty of them entirely unexpected. Jake Appleman takes us inside the locker room and courtside, examining the team’s transition from the New Jersey swamp to gentrified Brooklyn, from an opening night delayed by Hurricane Sandy to an epic seven-game playoff showdown with the Chicago Bulls.

The Nets were the game’s foremost paradox in 2013, a team that managed to be the most improved in the NBA, but also consistently disappointed. What made them interesting wasn’t their style of play or even their unique collection of personalities; it was their constant state of reinvention and their evolving relationship with their new home: as the Barclays crowds would chant it, BROOOOOOK-LYN!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/09/2013
The Nets arrival to Brooklyn in 2012 marked the first time since 1957 that the increasingly gentrified borough was home to a professional sports team. Basketball writer Appleman (whose work has appeared in GQ and the New York Times) follows that historic and turbulent inaugural season, which included a mid-season coaching change and stretches when the high-priced, highly talented team underperformed. Despite his constant presence alongside the Nets, Appleman’s insider status is iffy. He offers few revelations outside of what fans can read in the sports pages. And his narrative approach is inconsistent to the point of being maddening—a sudden season summary of the Nets’ battles with the crosstown Knicks; first-person diversions; an uninspiring summary of the Nets’ mediocre history. Appleman wonders how the team, transplanted from New Jersey, is supposed to mesh with Brooklyn’s changing reputation. That larger cultural theme, along with others that an author can build a terrific book around, barely get examined as the story sputters into a series of well-reported, though now stale, game recaps. Surprisingly, there is little of substance concerning the key elements or players—Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, minority celebrity owner Jay-Z, community opposition—that figured heavily in the Nets’ season. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Booklist
"Appleman’s account is a breezy, cautionary tale for modern sports fans in an era in which money trumps all, and owners who know nothing about the NBA meddle destructively."
Adrian Wojnarowski
"An excellent book on [the] Nets first season in Brooklyn. Very well done."
Good Times Magazine
"A fun read."
Boston Globe
“Appleman’s wit, enthusiasm for his subject, and familiarity with the players lifts Brooklyn Bounce above most season chronicles."
"Man Cave" CBS Local
“Brooklyn Bounce is full of insights on the small dramas…. I’m a lifelong Lakers nut and found myself interested in the Nets for the first time in my life.”
Complex Sports
"Must-read material."
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-12
In his full-length debut, veteran NBA reporter Appleman chronicles the Nets' first season following the franchise's move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Since their 1967 inception as the New Jersey Americans, the Nets have always lived in the shadow of the Manhattan-based Knicks, bouncing around different home arenas in New Jersey and Long Island. Despite winning two titles in the ABA and reaching the NBA finals twice in the early 2000s, they are perhaps remembered most as the team that traded away Julius "Dr. J" Erving. But with a brand-new arena, the Barclays Center, in ultrahip downtown Brooklyn, native son and superstar rapper Jay-Z in the owners' box (next to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who bought the team in 2009), and a talented cast of players led by star point guard Deron Williams, the franchise is ready to turn the page on its history of disappointments. The author was there every step of the way through an up-and-down season that included a coaching change and a seven-game first-round playoff loss to the Chicago Bulls. Despite his access, however, Appleman fails to deliver a coherent story, with disorienting leaps backward and forward in time, awkward gonzo-esque riffs and attempts at self-deprecating humor that feel strained. At times, the book has the feel of a beat writer's hurried postgame dispatch at the deadline, stretched to the length of an NBA season. The author successfully conveys the feeling of futility that seems to follow the team but often leaves out basic details, as if forgetting that readers were not there as well. He ends with an account of the 2013 acquisition of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Hard-core Nets fans—if they exist—might appreciate the behind-the-scenes scoop on their team, but other readers may find the disorganized narrative frustrating.
Library Journal
01/01/2014
Freelance sports journalist Appleman has produced a clumsily organized and poorly written account of the Nets' first season in Brooklyn. He includes profiles of players, coaches, and others, which start and stop at random, often switching from a profile of one player to an unrelated story about another, never returning to the original subject. Appleman's brief history of the Nets organization fails to tell us when it was founded; late in the book, he tells a story involving Bruce Ratner without ever explaining that Ratner is the minority owner of the Nets. In fact, he leaves readers with the impression that Ratner used to own the Nets. Such lack of attention to detail is problematic throughout and goes far beyond the typographical errors and such often to be encountered when reviewing a title from an uncorrected proof. There is a good story here, but it would require some serious re-writing and editing. VERDICT Nets fans may seek out this work regardless. Optional for NBA fans generally.—Derek Sanderson, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476726755
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Jake Appleman has covered the NBA for eight seasons for Slam Magazine, GQ, Vibe, NBCSports.com, NBA.com, and most recently The New York Times. He lives in New York.

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