N.J. Governor Chris Christie to the NBA's Nets: Good riddance
(CBS News) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had only one message for the NBA's Nets, who played (and lost) their last home game in the Garden State on Monday night before decamping to their new Brooklyn arena next season: goodbye.
One of the NBA's long-suffering franchises, the Nets spent 35 years in New Jersey - the last two in Newark - never winning an NBA championship. (Although they did win two with Dr. J in the 1970s as part of the now-defunct ABA.)
Now, as the organization prepares to cross the Hudson River for good, Christie said he does not shed a tear.
"If you don't want to stay, we don't want you," the famously straight-talking Christie said in a press conference (video below) when asked about the Nets' departure. "Seriously, I'm not gonna be in the business of begging people to stay here. That's one of the most beautiful arenas in America that they've had a chance to play in. It's in one of the country's most vibrant cities. And they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn? Good riddance."
Poor attendance was often an issue at home games, and the team was purchased by real estate developer Bruce Ratner in 2004 with the intention of moving it to Brooklyn. Those plans were accelerated when Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team a few years later and a fancy new stadium plan in Brooklyn took shape.
The Nets leave behind a void at the 18,000-seat Prudential Center in Newark, home to the NHL's Devils and NCAA basketball's Seton Hall team. Ever the homer, Christie said he is optimistic about the future of professional basketball in New Jersey.
"I think there'll be some other teams looking to relocate," Christie said.
Below watch Gov. Christie talking about the Nets leaving New Jersey, posted on the governor's YouTube account
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