Yesterday was a very significant day: they had the groundbreaking ceremony for the new arena that will be become the home of the Brooklyn Nets in 2012.
Having a pro sports team in Brooklyn is a half century overdue. And it could not have been done without Julius Erving. Let's trace a few historical steps:
The Nets entered the NBA as part of the merger between the two pro basketball leagues: the NBA & the ABA. Under the terms of the merger, 4 ABA teams (Pacers, Spurs, Nuggets & Nets) had to pay a $3 million dollar entry fee to join the NBA. The other ABA teams were folded, and players from the folded teams were part of a dispersal draft. (Some excellent players were in that draft-Moses Malone, Maurice Lucas Artis Gilmore.)
Now the Nets had an additional barrier which put their admission into the NBA in real jeopardy. Not only did they have to pay $3 million to the NBA for a entrance fee, they also had the pay the Knicks an additional $ 3 million. Why? The Nets played in a terrority where the Knicks had the NBA rights. In order to waive those rights, the Knicks demanded $ 3 million. Immediately.
This put the Net owner (Roy Boe) in a bind. He had the $ 3 million entry fee, but that left him tapped out. Without the additional $3 million for the Knicks, the Nets would have folded.
So Boe was in a bind. And he did something that broke the hearts of Net fans everywhere: he sold Julius Erving to Philly. For $3 million. That went to the Knicks.
Selling Julius allowed the Nets to play in the Knicks territory. That territory includes Brooklyn, USA. That's why the Knicks could not block the Nets move to Brooklyn-they signed those rights away in 1976.
Sometimes, it is hard to see the Forrest through the trees (or the other way around,I can never get that saying right).
But 34 years after it happened, the sale of Julius Erving made it possible for the Nets to move to Brooklyn.