The Brooklyn Nets, an NBA team with roots extending back to 1967, officially came into being on April 30, 2012, when the former New Jersey Nets rebranded themselves and unveiled their new black-and-white color scheme and logos, designed by partial owner Jay-Z. The Brooklyn Nets will make their debut in the rapper’s native New York City borough in 2012, when they take the court at the Barclays Center, a multi-use arena located at 620 Atlantic Avenue and situated within a larger $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards real estate development plan.

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Jay-Z isn’t the only notable Brooklyn Nets owner. The principal stakeholder is Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire who ran for president in his home country in 2012. The 6-foot, 8-inch tall businessman is the seventh richest man in Russia, and in June 2012, he started his own political party, the Civil Platform Party. The Brooklyn Nets have already garnered some controversy due to their association with the controversial Prokhorov, but the team nevertheless hopes to reverse its flagging fortunes and regroup after the five straight losing seasons it’s experienced since 2007. The Brooklyn Nets lineup features three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who signed a five-year, $98.7 million contract with the team in June 2012. Joining Williams are Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez, and many believe the Brooklyn Nets could make some noise in the Eastern Conference, improve upon their 22-44 record from the 2011–12 season, and possibly make a run at the NBA finals.

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The Brooklyn Nets were originally known as the New Jersey Americans, back when they started out in 1967 in the American Basketball Association (ABA). They later became the New York Nets and won two ABA titles before joining the NBA in 1976. They settled in New Jersey in 1977, and while they made back-to-back appearances in the NBA finals in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2006-07. Perhaps now with their snazzy new uniforms and Jay-Z-assisted hip-hop credit, the squad will shed its losing ways and have fans screaming, “Brooklyn, stand up!”

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