With the arrival of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Nets championship chances increased significantly and some rivalries got a lot more intense as well. Except that LeBron James said that he doesn’t expect the Nets/Heat rivalry to be the same as the Heat/Celtics rivalry has been in recent years because, apparently, Brooklynites are not as intense as the Beantowners.
“With the Boston rivalry, not only were you playing against those guys, you were playing against their fans, too,” James told NBA.com. “And there are not too many fans that can compete with Boston. Probably the Palace of Auburn Hills when it was rocking, as far as animosity or hatred.
“Brooklyn doesn’t have that. Obviously, they have great fans, but Boston has that hatred. You kind of inherit not only going against those guys, but you inherit going against those fans as well.”
It’s hard to argue as there aren’t many trolls out there as large as a Boston fan troll. I mean, I went to a Pearl Jam concert in Boston once and they broke out with a “Yankees suck” chant. I’m not sure where that came from, but it’s just the type of class that exudes out of New England. I mean, Ted Williams was one of the best players in baseball history and he regularly got booed by his home crowd.
Nets fans, meanwhile, haven’t fully come into their own. It’ll happen over time, but this was a town that didn’t even have a major sports team for decades and was used to rooting for the Knicks. Many Brooklynites have embraced the Nets, but this stuff doesn’t happen over night. Many times last season the away crowd was well represented at games. I expect this to keep changing, especially when/if the Nets beat the Knicks or at least take the division, but for now LeBron is right, Nets fans can’t match the intensity of Celtics fans. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing.