Outside Modell’s on Oct. 3 stood an elderly black man almost entirely dressed up in precisely that blue and orange crap — a Knicks windbreaker over a Carmelo Anthony jersey over a white tee-shirt, and an old-timey New York Knicks cap that actually said “Knickerbockers.” This man’s name was, it happens, Oscar Modell. “No relation,” he said.
Modell lives in Bed Stuy, and always has. “I just took a walk to see [Barclays],” After he did a walk-around of the arena, Oscar said he’d go to Junior’s, in downtown Brooklyn, for a piece of cheesecake.
“This is looking real good here,” he said. “I never thought I’d see something like it. I look forward to seeing the Knicks beat the stuffing out of the Nets here.”
Asked why he, a lifelong Brooklynite, wouldn’t root for a Brooklyn basketball team, he laughed.
“Brooklyn doesn’t have a basketball team,” he said. “Brooklyn’s got an arena. But I read the boys on the Nets don’t even live in Brooklyn. They don’t even live in New York.”
This is true. The Nets mostly still live in Jersey, near their practice facility. Small forward Gerald Wallace remarked recently that he’d never move to Brooklyn; that he’s too frightened of New York City to ever live in it.
“The boys on the Knicks, maybe they’re not from New York, but at least they want to come here,” he said. “Just like people from all over the world want to come here. That makes it a hometown team. But the Nets? The Brooklyn Nets? The Brooklyn Nets is just a logo. Maybe one day it’ll be more than that, but not yet. Not for a long time.”
Here’s the Nets bandwagon: I ain’t on it.