Why the Brooklyn Nets Are My Least Favorite Basketball Team


The Brooklyn Nets are quickly becoming my least favorite basketball team. The birth of what was believed to be a new championship contender a few years ago, led by star players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and coached by former two-time MVP Steve Nash, was billed to be the next big thing in the NBA. However, in the last few weeks, the alleged “superteam” has completely fallen off the rails and needs to do better, on and off the court. 

The problems first arose when the Nets, who finished seventh in the Eastern Conference last season, were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. After big games from Durant and Irving, the lack of scoring from the superstars’ supporting cast throughout the series worried Nets fans and staff alike. However, the organization’s lack of improvements made to the team during the offseason is becoming painfully apparent this season, as the Nets sit at 2-6, in 13th place in their 15-team conference. Nash, who was controversially hired before the 2020-21 season over more experienced coaches, such as 2016 NBA Finals winning coach Tyronn Lue, was fired after leading the Brooklyn team to a record of 94-67 in just over two seasons.

While the Nets’ may be underwhelming on the court, the organization’s frankly embarrassing spinelessness off of it calls into question some of the moral and ethical standards of the NBA. The Nets have recently been in contact with Ime Udoka as a potential replacement for Nash, which highlights the Brooklyn front office’s ignorance and lack of morals. Udoka, the coach of the Boston Celtics team that reached the NBA Finals in 2022, was suspended from coaching after it was revealed that Udoka had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer, Kathleen Nimmo Lynch, in the Celtics organization. In addition, Udoka had also made “crude” comments towards Lynch before the relationship had begun. 

This hire strongly contradicts the statement made by General Manager Sean Marks on Nov. 1, when asked about what kind of coach the Nets would be looking for to replace Nash. “A leader,” said Marks. “We’re looking for that for our group. We’re looking for somebody to have poise, charisma, and accountability.” Where was the accountability when the Nets decided to try and hire a man who created a hostile environment on a near-championship team? What kind of leadership does he really demonstrate? I can’t imagine it’s one that promotes a safe and comfortable environment. We do the right thing. We are honest, ethical, and fair,” claims the NBA. It’s time for the league to show it.

The willingness to hire Udoka, a man deemed so toxic by the Celtics that he was put on suspension, risking a very good chance at winning a championship, is appalling. Regardless of how good of a coach Udoka may be, the front office in Brooklyn clearly failed to consider the impact this hiring would have on the women that work for the Nets organization. Before the name of the staffer having an affair with Udoka was released, many fans and critics took to Twitter in an uninformed flurry, accusing, mentioning, or otherwise speculating about which woman could have been involved with the former Celtics coach. The dozens of women employed by the Nets organization now could find themselves subjected to this inaccurate harassment, via the blank, faceless screen of the Internet.

The coaching aspect is not the only way in which the Nets are sacrificing morality for an attempt at success. Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been the focus of public scrutiny for numerous ridiculous actions and claims dating back to 2018, has talked his way into finding himself under fire once again. The most recent string of Irving’s self-proclaimed “free thinking” was first brought to public eye on Oct. 27, when Irving tweeted the link to a blatantly anti-Semitic movie to his audience of more than 4 million Twitter followers. 

Irving would refuse to acknowledge his mistakes and apologize, despite the Nets owner, Joe Tsai, condemning Irving’s actions in a tweet made on Oct. 28. “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion,” Tsai tweeted. “This is bigger than basketball.” 

Irving would delete his tweet, without comment, on Oct. 30. 

In the following days, Irving would be slammed by former players Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, and Charles Barkley, as the three former players expressed their distaste for Irving’s behavior on a live TNT broadcast on Nov. 1. “I know the game we used to love and we promote, it brings people together… It hurts me sometimes when we have to sit up here and talk about stuff that divides the game,” O’Neal said. “Now we got [sic] to answer for what this idiot [Irving] has done.”

Irving, as well as the Nets, would each offer a $500,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that has spoken out against Irving’s behavior numerous times in the player’s latest saga. But the ADL would decline these payments. The public outcry against Irving would eventually prove to be effective, as the Nets suspended the player on November 3, for a minimum of five games. Both blatantly transparent attempts at appeasing the public, the donation and the suspension are only half-hearted cover ups. In a league that preaches inclusivity and diversity, both the organization and the league’s front office need to stop walking on eggshells around a man who’s self-indulgence borders on danger for the league as a whole. 

The fallout for Irving, as well as the Nets as a whole, could be spectacular. In a borough of New York with over half a million residents of Semitic origin, the Nets’ failure to respond quickly and proportionately to the severity of Irving’s actions, of course in the interest of protecting profit, could ironically be more detrimental to their business than if the organization had handled this business swiftly and properly. Protesters in “FIGHT ANTISEMITISM” shirts have already made their presence known at Nets games. Irving’s sneaker partnership with the athleticwear giant Nike has been suspended, and the upcoming release of a new shoe has been scratched following the debacle known as Kyrie Irving’s last two weeks. 

In what has been a disastrous week for Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, the lack of integrity and character should be an embarrassment to the NBA. These minimal punishments, rather obviously aimed at placating the fans and critics, paint a picture of a franchise that will prioritize its own prosperity over its own staff, and the city it has represented for over a decade. 

“…as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion,” tweeted Tsai. “This is bigger than basketball.” Now, I’d like to see the Nets practice what they preach.