Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knicks Declare Billboard War On Nets

By Tony Mangia

The New York Knicks have taken action against the New Jersey Nets by placing a billboard on a warehouse near the Brooklyn construction site of the Nets' new arena...two years before it's planned completion.  The obscure Knicks billboard looks like retaliation for the giant poster promoting the Nets and it's new billionaire owner.  That sign was hung with a pigeon's eye view of Madison Square Garden last July. 

The Knicks billboard features new Knick star Amar'e Stoudemire glaring out from in front of the Manhattan Bridge with "Brooklyn Represent" written underneath and "YOU, US, WE, NOW" scrolled along the side with the team emblem.  The Knick's  newest acquisition and face of the team could be a dig at the Nets inability to land a big-name free-agent this off-season.

The Nets billboard, which hung from a Manhattan building on 33rd Street, was much larger and featured Nets owners Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z staring directly down at the Garden.  The Knicks owner, James Dolan, was so incensed by the huge sign, he filed a complaint with the NBA.  He claimed it gave his Jersey competitors an upper hand in recruiting free-agent LeBron James last summer.

Dolan probably wishes he could have tacked Carmelo Anthony's face onto his new black and white promo.  The Knicks haven't commented on why they put one up near the Nets future home, but did say they put similar ones up around the New York Area.  They probably won't have to worry about putting any up near the Nets' current home, the Prudential Center, in Newark.  Today, on opening day,  some tickets on Stub Hub were going for .45 cents.

The Nets CEO Brett Yormark called the Knicks billboard a "defensive measure."  "I'm glad to see they know where Brooklyn is," he said.  "Clearly they know what's coming.  It's fair play."

The "YOU, US, WE, NOW" slogan is a bit confusing.  Maybe the Knicks should have slapped a head- shot of their Russian center, Timofey Mozgov, to lure some of his comrades from Brooklyn's Russian enclave in  Brighton Beach.  The big man has recently done a public relations tour there. 

The Nets' new Russian owner isn't waiting until the new arena's ribbon-cutting to entice his Russian fanbase.  Prokhorov is publishing a Russian-language magazine called "S.N.O.B."  The magazine is geared to generating Net fans within the community.  The name is an acronym for the Russian words, "Accomplished , Independent, Educated and Thriving."  A Bloomberg report said the  Nets owner--who is already well-known in Russian society--has already sunk $100 million into the project.

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