On a night nearly a decade in the making, the Nets came home to Brooklyn on November 3, 2012 to christen Barclays Center with a 107-100 win over the Toronto Raptors.
In the final minute, a soon-to-be familiar sound washed through the building as Brook Lopez stepped to the foul line. “Brooook-lyn” chanted the crowd, laying claim to a new team and its new home as Lopez completed a three-point play to help secure the win.
“It was pretty amazing,” said Lopez. “Especially the crowd, they were fantastic the whole game.”
The arena itself had opened a little over a month earlier with a string of sold-out Jay-Z concerts. After three preseason games and one postponement — the originally scheduled opener against the Knicks was called off in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy — the Brooklyn Nets made their official debut.
The billion-dollar arena became the eighth home court in the franchise’s history. Built in two-and-a-half years after a March 10, 2010 groundbreaking, the state-of-the-art arena gave the Nets one of the NBA’s most fan-friendly seating configurations.
With Jay-Z, Beyonce, then-NBA commissioner David Stern and former Brooklyn Dodger greats on hand, Lopez poured in 27 points to launch the Nets into a new era. Deron Williams had 19 points and nine assists, Joe Johnson had 14 points, and Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries rounded out the first-ever Brooklyn Nets starting five.
The Nets went on to finish their inaugural season in Brooklyn with a 49-33 record, winning 33 of their final 51 games on a closing kick that began with a road win at Oklahoma City on Jan. 2, 2013.
Lopez led the Nets with 19.4 points per game and averaged 6.9 rebounds in the inaugural Brooklyn campaign. Deron Williams averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 assists and Joe Johnson scored 16.3 points per game while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. Reggie Evans led the Nets with 11.1 rebounds per game.
With the move to Brooklyn came a new look for the Nets, a crisp black-and-white color scheme and lettering inspired by vintage New York transit subway signs.
The Nets averaged 17,187 in attendance over the first season in Brooklyn, then the second-highest annual figure over the franchise’s first 46 seasons.
In February 2016 the Nets opened HSS Training Center in Sunset Park, bringing all of the franchise’s basketball operations to the borough, making Brooklyn the team’s full-time home.