The city of Newark still has the New Jersey Nets for another year before they move across a few rivers into their new home in Brooklyn but, if Shaquille O'Neal has his wish, an NBA team will once again slam dunk in front of the empty seats in the Prudential Center.
Did anyone tell Shaq that wishes are only the legend of bad movies? Kazaam!
The lame duck New Jersey Nets, who--sadly-- are lately better known for one of their players becoming a Kardashian, will be packing up their gear and head for the state-of-the-art Barclays Center with their new first-name-- Brooklyn-- in 2012. It's a good possibility that most of the few hundred fans in Newark will probably notice or care.
O'Neal, who was raised in Newark, has talked about wanting to own a team in the past and responded to that question in a wide-ranging interview in Tuesday's New York Times about his desire to bring one back to Newark.
"Yes, And I'm looking forward to bringing a team to Newark," he said. "I haven't spoken to Mayor Booker about it yet, but I'm working on it. I know Newark can support an NBA team. And I'm going to be one of those guys that's going to bring a team here."
The former NBA star has talked about owning an NBA team in the past and originally had his eyes set on moving the Nets to his home town back in 2009, when the Nets were still playing in the Meadowlands, and the new Prudential Center was without an NBA team.
"If I was a general manager or owner of that team, I'd be playing in Newark right now," he said back then.
That was before the team did move to Newark's Prudential Center and played before empty seats-- some selling for .43 cents on the Internet-- and empty promises to the city as well.
Now, Shaq is pushing to get an NBA team back in Newark, but it could be an uphill battle.
O'Neal has the star power and the NBA pedigree to possibly broker a deal and move one of the other struggling NBA teams to Newark-- look what the Nets minority-owner Jay-Z did-- and there are sure to be a couple of teams on the verge of collapse if the NBA lockout ever ends. Did I hear someone say Newark Timberwolves?
But, putting a third NBA team in the New York metro area would be risky-- considering that the Nets could barely draw fans when the only other local team was the Knicks.
O'Neal, and his development company have been involved in many community projects in the city of Newark, but this is one wish that even a blue genie couldn't grant. Kazaam!