Even the most committed and knowledgeable of sports fans can make errors in judgment when it comes to evaluating moves by their favorite teams. Every sports fan has been guilty of it, and those who claim otherwise are full of shit. Until this past week, my own personal worst mistake as a sports fan was being totally and completely irate when the New York Yankees traded Roberto Kelly to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul O’Neill prior to the 1993 season. Kelly turned out to be a journeyman outfielder who only lasted a few more seasons, while O’Neill was my favorite Yankee from Memorial Day 1993 through his retirement after the 2001 World Series.
But now, I can safely say that my biggest error in judgment as a sports fan was my happiness over the 21,375-square-foot Blueprint for Greatness billboard the Nets painted across the street from Madison Square Garden, featuring new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and part-owner and hip-hop legend Jay-Z.
When I first read about the idea. I was ecstatic. I hate the New York Knicks with a deep, intense passion, and putting this huge billboard up right across the street from the arena was like spitting in their faces. I constantly reposted updates on the massive project’s progress, just to tweak my friends who root for the New York Bricks. But now that the dust has settled, this was a really stupid, sophomoric, juvenile idea that makes the Nets look like even more of a joke than they’ve historically been perceived to be.
Unless, that is, you can find someone who sincerely believes that taking aim at LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Rudy Gay, Tyrus Thomas and David Lee, and then ending up with Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro and, if the Golden State Warriors pass on matching an offer sheet, Anthony Morrow constitutes a “Blueprint for Greatness.” That person should immediately be cut off by bartenders and drug dealers, as they’ve clearly lost touch with reality.
Johan Petro? Really? The only Petro who would help the Nets is sadly no longer among the living.
I’m not angry at the Nets’ organization for its approach this offseason. From everything I’ve read, they made the best possible effort in all of their meetings with free agents, and things just didn’t work out their way. Nor can anyone be blamed for the fact that despite finishing 12-70 last season, the NBA Lottery process bent the Nets over and screwed them without buying them dinner first, leaving the team with pick No. 3 in a draft that boasted two great players. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, but I don’t think it was lack of effort or a poor approach.
But for the love of God, please paint over that fucking billboard. It’s beyond childish at this point. This team will be lucky to win 30 games next season, which won’t exactly ender it to the next class of free agents, either. This organization is in no position to taunt any other organization — even the overrated, worthless, piece-of-shit Knicks.