The concept of loyalty is something that people value pretty highly. Whether this loyalty implicates family, country, or sports team, the idea of faith and allegiance is something that society promotes as an objectively good thing. Well, I call bullshit on this. Total bullshit. Because, just like the family or the country you're born into, the sports teams that you're drawn to are just as much an accident of birth. And in the same way that I would recommend that you not feel obligated to love your family if your family was full of dicks or serve in your country's armed forces if you knew your country was involved in an immoral, pointless war, I also think that it is a totally fine thing to stop following a team that has an incompetent, megalomaniacal blowhard for an owner and shows outright disdain for its fans. Especially when you live in Brooklyn and finally have a pro team to call your own.
That said, if you decide to make the switch and put your blue-and-orange gear in the back of your closet in favor of the Nets' sleek new black and white logoed goods, you will encounter some—actually probably a lot—of negative feedback from people you know who will call you a "turncoat" or a "fairweather fan" or a "total pussy shithead" as my brother called me. And because I want you to have a better response ready for these people than my response to my brother (which was to say over and over to him, until he turned away from me in a mixture of disgust and frustration, Isiah Thomas, Isiah Thomas, Isiah Thomas) I thought I'd break down all the perfectly justifiable reasons for changing from a Knicks fan to a Nets fan.
1) James Dolan
Dolan is an absolutely horrible owner. It's not just that he doesn't care about the fans or, apparently, the team, but he doesn't even pretend to care about anything other than his classic rock band, which is actually named JD and the Straight Shot. He let Jeremy Lin—the most exciting thing about the Knicks in YEARS—go without a second thought. He's terrible. And New Yorkers switched allegiances from the Yankees to the Mets for similar problems with Steinbrenner and nobody gives Mets fans a hard time.
2) Borough Pride
If you're not from Brooklyn, or not living here now, fine, you won't feel this as much. But if you are in Brooklyn, you can't deny that there is a certain level of excitement at finally having a team with the word Brooklyn prominently displayed in its name. This is a cool thing and its specific to Brooklyn, by which I mean that all other sports teams that are in the general vicinity of Manhattan are called "New York" teams. It's not the Queens Mets. It's not the Bronx Yankees. It's not the New Jersey Giants or Jets. But it's the Brooklyn Nets. Because Brooklyn as a concept rivals that of New York. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
3) You Never Really Liked the Knicks to Begin With
This is a totally legit reason to switch over to the Nets. In fact, this is the MOST legit reason and one that I think is probably not uncommon. Unless you've been a Knicks fan since the glory days of the mid-90s or earlier, you maybe have never really liked the Knicks at all because they have spent the last 10+ years being terrible under the guidance of James Dolan. Maybe you've been waiting for a team that you can root for with more than anemic enthusiasm. Well, now's your chance!
4) It's Just Sports
As a debating tactic, this line of reasoning will infuriate your adversary. Why will it cause his face to get red and a vein to bulge and pulse in his temple while he splutters a retort? Well, because it's true. All of this is just sports. It's not actually that important on any level. It's sort of like that line in "Annie Hall" where Alvy gets asked, "What is so fascinating about sitting around watching a bunch of pituitary cases stuff a ball through a hoop?" And even though we sympathize with Alvy, we also have to acknowledge the absurdity of what it is that we actually do when we expend so much energy and time into watching professional sports.
Because even if there's something strangely and yet viscerally fascinating about sports, there's nothing important about them. So if you want to switch teams, go ahead. Some people will be annoyed, but that's really their problem. Those people are the same kind of people who take genuine and inordinate pride in things—like their country of birth—that they had absolutely no agency over. Where's the pride in that? You know where there's pride? In making your own choice, using your own free will, to root for (or not root for) whatever team you feel like. Freedom, you guys. Freedom should always win over something as contrived as brand loyalty. Choose your choice, Brooklyn. Choose the home team.
FOR THE COUNTERPOINT, READ HERE.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen