When the Nets moved from New Jersey to their shiny rusty new home in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012, they took it as an opportunity to reform the image of the franchise. They set out to be the hip alternative to the presumably stodgy, tradition-oriented New York Knicks in Manhattan. They would have black uniforms. They would play on a herringbone-patterned court. They would make many bold, financially inadvisable moves to capture a decent playoff seed. These would not be your grandma's Nets.
So, to aid in constructing this new era, they hired Marvel to make them a new mascot. The result was the BrooklyKnight, a crime-fighting humanoid with a metal mask with a smiling face on it, which made him look like a troubled Renaissance Faire attendee asked to leave the grounds after 20 minutes. Negative reaction was swift — adults and children didn't like this creation very much, and he only really lost notoriety when the rebranded New Orleans Pelicans introduced the first incarnation of their toxic-avenger bird Pierre this past fall.
The Nets apparently had not forgotten how much the public disliked BrooklyKnight — maybe because it feels absolutely ridiculous to type that name once, let alone throughout an entire article — and have responded in kind. On Wednesday night, Grantland's Zach Lowe tweeted that the Nets were putting the BrooklyKnight character on hiatus. On Thursday, the team confirmed that the mascot will not return:
Official Nets statement: "We put a lot of effort into the BrooklynKnight, but we've decided to go in a different direction." #RIPKNIGHT— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 10, 2014
Unless the BrooklyKnight was somehow maimed in an underground urban jousting competition, it appears that the Nets have just decided that two years was too long to have this mascot out scaring children. As noted by Lowe in his BrooklyKnight obituary, it takes a special creation to be deemed too terrifying for an NBA mascot — this is a league, after all, where a coyote who rarely wears pants can lose his perpetually zonked-out green eyeballs and still remain beloved by hometown fans. Yet the BrooklyKnight was too much — the combination of that smile, a special black van, and the bondage undertones of the whole thing proved unsustainable. Frankly, it's a little surprising that the guy made it two seasons.
We don't know if and when the Nets will go with another mascot, but the BrooklyKnight will not receive Pierre-inspired "surgery" and return in a friendlier guise. (I'm also pretty sure BrooklyKnight is the NBA's unlicensed surgeon.) We will only have precious memories like this one:
It's not goodbye, it's see you later. Because you will haunt our dreams forever.
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