Today in sports: The Nets prepare for their final game in New Jersey, Metta World Peace lets out his inner-Ron Artest, and Roger Clemens scores a win on the first day of his perjury retrial.
The curtain will come down on pro basketball's 35-year run in New Jersey tonight after the Nets take the court against the Philadelphia 76ers in Newark. The club was never consistently competitive in the Garden State, forever trapped in the shadow of the New York Knicks, but they sure were fun to cover, recalls Harvey Araton, who wrote about the club for the New York Post. Araton recalls covering his first road game in Buffalo in 1977, when William Averitt-- "one of four left-handed Nets guards" at the time, was arrested by Buffalo police immediately after the game and cited for writing a bad check and for "unpaid tickets related to letting his German shepherd roam a Buffalo suburb." Araton continues:
Hence, my first article for The New York Post with a glamorous dateline was about the Nets’ posting bond for Averitt — and not even the racy tabloid rated this news all that sensational. It was just the Nets, the strapped team that had introduced itself to the N.B.A. by selling the contract of Dr. J, Julius Erving, to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Things like that kept happening to the Nets even into the 1990s, when clubs ostensibly were more concerned about their public face. Selena Roberts recalls covering the two-year tenure of John Calipari for The Times. "For months," Roberts recalls, "Cal pushed on with a remarkable, upbeat energy — until the moment he snapped. That was the afternoon he called The Star-Ledger’s Dan Garcia a ‘Mexican idiot’ across a parking lot.” The team will begin play in Brooklyn next season. [The New York Times]
After four days, a jury has finally been selected in the Roger Clemens retrial, which means opening arguments can start as early as this afternoon. Clemens already scored a major win today when U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Andy Pettitte, a former Clemens teammate with the Yankees, cannot testify that he received human growth hormone from Brian McNamee, who served as Clemens's trainer in 2002. Pettitte will be allowed to testify that he "used human growth hormone and say that he had conversations with Clemens about Clemens’s H.G.H. use," but can't mention McNamee, on the grounds it would prejudice jurors against Clemens. [The New York Times]