When the NBA came to the Meadowlands
In October of 1981, the NBA came to the Meadowlands as the New Jersey Nets took up residence in their new home; alas, they lost the inaugural game 103-99 to the New York Knicks.
The Nets had had an itinerant existence up to that point. They had started their existence as the New Jersey Americans in 1967, playing in Teaneck before moving to Long Island in 1968 and changing their name to the New York Nets. Guided by Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the Nets won two ABA championships. In 1976 the NBA and ABA merged and the Nets became an NBA team. The next year the Nets made their move to the Garden State and became the New Jersey Nets.
While they waited for the Meadowlands Sports Complex to be completed, their home court was at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway; they played there for four years. Finally, in 1981, the Nets moved into their brand new digs at the Brendan Byrne Arena (later Continental Arena, and then the Izod Center). The Nets would spend the next 29 years there, experiencing varying levels of success. The high point was back to back finals appearances in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, led by Jason Kidd.
The Nets moved to the Prudential Center in 2010, awaiting the construction of their new home because in 2012, the Nets were on the move again, this time moving to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn to become the Brooklyn Nets.
Now, the Nets are reaching back to their New Jersey past. They announced this week that this season they will be donning the tie-dyed, baby blue uniforms of their ’90-’91 season at the Meadowlands. New Jersey native Kyrie Irving of the Nets modeled the new uni at a press conference, hearkening back to the Derrick Coleman era.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.