Politicians latch on to things that are popular. It’s just what they do.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that New York City Mayor donned an absurd amount of Brooklyn Nets gear at an event ahead of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Throwing support behind one New York team when the other is also in the playoffs could be dicey territory for de Blasio. The move may endear him to some Nets fans, but other, more superstitious fans could blame the mayor if the title favorites make an early playoff exit.
The Brooklyn Nets are the betting favorite to win the NBA title
Pundits considered the Nets one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference coming into the 2020-21 season. They had Kevin Durant coming back from his season-long injury, Kyrie Irving in his second year with the franchise, and a talented young core that included Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.
While this team would have been good, an early-season trade for Houston Rockets malcontent James Harden made the squad great.
The new-look Nets went 48-24 under first-year (and first-time) head coach Steve Nash. This record was good enough for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. This success came despite the team’s Big 3 of Durant, Irving, and Harden missing 37, 18, and 22 games, respectively.
Even as the second most successful team in the division and fourth in the league, oddsmakers have installed the Nets as the title favorites. According to FanDuel, the Nets are +210 to win it all. The Los Angeles Lakers are second-favorite (+500), followed by the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz (+600), and the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks (+800).
Could the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks play in the NBA playoffs?
The Nets and the New York Knicks have not played in the playoffs in the same season since 2013, which coincidentally was the last time the Knicks made the postseason. In 2021, the Knicks come in with Brooklyn at the No. 4 seed.
If the first-round playoff series stay to form and all the top seeds win, the Nets and Knicks wouldn’t face off unless both reached the Eastern Conference Finals. They also would not meet until round three if whoever comes out of the second play-in game – either the Washington Wizards or Indiana Pacers – upsets the Sixers.
However, if the No. 6 seed Miami Heat upset the No. 3 Bucks in the first round, and both New York teams advance to round two, the Battle of New York would be on.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio went full dad-mode, dressing up in Brooklyn Nets gear
It a move that no Nets fans seemed to ask for, Mayor de Blasio recently dressed up like a proud father at his child’s high school basketball game for an event outside the Nets’ home in Brooklyn.
To give the mayor credit, the event and the outfit were for a good cause. According to the New York Post, this happened at a pop-up vaccination center outside of Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The idea of the event was to encourage New Yorkers to get their COVID-19 vaccination.
Explaining the Harden jersey and flat-brimmed Nets hat, de Blasio told reporters, “The Nets are stepping up for Brooklyn, for all of New York,” and that New Yorkers need to step up as well to get vaccinated.
Good cause or not, this display of new fandom may not sit well with Nets fans. If the Nets lose before the NBA Finals, whether people on Twitter believe de Blasio jinxed the team or not, we surely will be seeing a lot more of this mayor in Nets gear meme.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference