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New York believes
by David Carro / June 13, 2003

Once you get to New York, you soon feel the atmosphere is very different to the one in which we lived last year's Finals. You can smell hope. The New Jersey Nets have won the city over -- especially Jason Kidd. While most New Yorkers considered the Nets guests to the third crowning of the Lakers one year ago, now the heart of the city is with the team. New York believes in the Nets, in Kidd, in Kenyon Martin... And in the retro.

The best sports shops in Times Square are filled with retro NBA (and ABA) jerseys, caps and headbands. You could spot many people wearing Bullets retro jerseys at the big party and enormous parade that took place in the day of Puerto Rico. We didn't have any retro jersey to wear, but that wouldn't prevent us from playing in the games between journalists at the "Basketball City". Tony Parker's brother and Portuguese basketball star Felipe Gomes played with us. Arizona's Luke Walton was also there, but opted not to play. We would see him later in the media room when the time comes for Nets and Spurs to play Game 4. Ditto for Bill Russell, Dr. J, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Willis Reed.

Once we finished showcasing our basketball skills, several Detroit journalists told us about Rick Carlisle and how awful his personal relationship with the players was.

Talking about awful things, you should see the locker room of the San Antonio Spurs in the Continental Airlines Arena. There is barely space for the players in such a small and hoary place. Things turn worse as journalists enter the locker room and push each other in order to get a good position to talk with Ginobili, Robinson, Parker or Duncan -- all of them always surrounded by the media. Meanwhile, Bruce Bowen is usually left alone. It makes sense.

In the other locker room, you'll usually find Kenyon Martin alone, too. You can see him there, with his typical threatening expression -- one he will only change when he dunks on someone and dances around Nets' assistants. Quite funny.

EMPTY SEATS

Worth noting: The soccer match between Peru and Ecuador was played at the Giant Stadium at the same time of Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Half the people in New Jersey are Latinos, so maybe that's why there were some empty seats in the Continental Airlines Arena. That would also explain why you can't find Spurs jerseys in the city...

It was clear the Nets had to win Game 4 -- especially after the support they got from Bruce Willis. Either he is a great actor or he is a Net at heart. (We choose option B.) Willis shouted "Let's go Nets" like crazy with the mike in his hand and energized the crowd when things were looking ugly for the home team. Somebody should pay him the trip to San Antonio.

David Carro writes for Gigantes and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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