Empire State Building Chooses Nets — Not Knicks [LOOK]

James Harden

Getty Brooklyn's James Harden warms up before playing against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on February 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For the first time in 11 months, New York City fans returned to Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to cheer on the Nets and Knicks. The NBA suspended its 2020 season on March 11 last year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; March 8 was the last time NYC fans got to see either team play in the flesh.

Three hundred fans were permitted to attend Tuesday’s Nets game against the Sacramento Kings, and 2,000 Knicks fans were allowed in person for Knicks-Warriors as artificial crowd noise was finally swapped out for the real thing.

New York State authorized in-person attendance of sporting events on February 10.

To commemorate the occasion, the Empire State Building lit up with the colors of one of the city’s teams — but not both.

New York — A Nets Town?

The Empire State Building adjusted its lighting color scheme for one hour beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The new colors: black and white.

“Nothing but net!” the Empire State Building’s official Twitter account tweeted. “For the next hour, we’re joining the @BrooklynNets in welcoming their fans back to the arena with lights shining in black & white.”

And thus a Knicks-versus-Nets debate was sparked in the comments below the tweet.

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Kyrie Irving Pumped to Have Fans Back

There were only 300 fans at Tuesday’s Nets game, but even that small number — about 1.6% of Barclays Center’s 19,000 capacity — provided a noticeable uptick in energy.

Kyrie Irving felt it. The Nets star made a point of it to welcome fans back to the building, waving to them on both sides of the venue ahead of the opening tip.

“Inviting fans back in, I feel it does great things for the league, it does great things for us in terms of motivation,” Irving said on Monday, per Adam Zagoria on Twitter. “They’re a big part that makes this whole engine run. But besides our fans, we have an opportunity to set a mark in history in making sure that we take the right safety precautions and make sure that we’re standing [for] the right things such as truth, giving back the right information and just making it about the collective.”

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