As the Nets prepared for their final home game in New Jersey after 35 years in the state, Governor Chris Christie made it clear he will not be shedding any tears over the team’s departure next season for Brooklyn.
Speaking at a bill signing Monday in Newark, the outspoken Christie had a simple message for the Nets: “Good riddance. See you later.”
A few hours later, the Nets lost their final home game in the Prudential Center 105-87 to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets close their fifth consecutive losing season Thursday at the Toronto Raptors.
“My message to the Nets is goodbye,” Christie said. “You don’t want to stay here, we don’t want you. I’m not going to be in the business of begging people to stay here.”
The Nets have played the last two of their 35 years in New Jersey at the Prudential Center Arena in Newark, built in 2007 by the city and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
“That’s one of the most beautiful arenas in America they have a chance to play in,” Christie said. “It’s in one of the country’s most vibrant cities and they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn? Good riddance. See you later.”
Next season, the team moves into the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Real estate developer Bruce Ratner purchased the franchise in 2004 with the intention of eventually moving the team to Brooklyn. That plan became reality in 2009 when Ratner joined forces with Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who became the majority owner and is providing most of the money to build the team’s new arena in Brooklyn.