So. After a couple years of being a self-hating Brooklynite, cursing this rust-colored spaceship arena every time I passed it on my way to Target to buy toilet paper and Peeps in bulk, I finally crossed the (TSA-style) gates into Barclays Arena. The greeting to Barclays is to get immediately dressed down by a moonlighting corrections officer. And because I’ve always harbored dreams of bombing mediocre basketball teams, they inspected my phone, keys, and iphone upon arrival. Then they basically just threw a program at me without a word. Like a summons.
Once through security, and assured that my wife now hates me for this silly gift I requested sometime around Christmas, we try to head to our seats. We are poor, so this meant moving skyward up to where Babel built that tower for Jesus or something. Unlike most arenas, ballparks, malls, and anything, this arena prefers you take an elevator up to your seats. Okay. Cool. An elevator that fits about 7 mid-fat people at a time willdefinitely whisk over 10,000 fans up to the mouth-breather seats in time for tip off. No. No, it won’t.
We arrive at our seats: Section 52,305, Row ZXZ, or thereabouts. Up where Jay Z sticks his hanger-on 3rdcousins when they’re in town and he wants to impress them with the Barclays sound system. “Listen to that,” he must say. “Crisp, right?” The 3rd cousins nod quietly.
But sound was not crisp, Jay Z. The sound up there is basically past the tree line and you mostly just face the backs of speakers, an underwater version of Jock Rock throbbing as you stare down at Deron Williams moving slowly miles beneath you and wonder where the hell things went wrong.
Let me mention the leg room! There is none! Also, the cheap seats are positioned at such a steep incline that only a wire-walker like Philippe Petit could stride past the chubby knees and nasty boots on his way to a black plastic chair outfitted by Fisher Price. Don’t know who Philippe Petit is? Man On Wire? If you don’t know that, then I’m actually your friend.
Also, post-tip off, they dim the lights. Which is fine, if the arena weren’t already coated in 15 layers of midnight-black paint. It’s a charming look, if you’re into coffins. I imagine they believe it helps one focus on the basketball “action”. But all that surrounds you is a low-frequency throbbing night, the only light at the end of the tunnel the Brooklyn Nets – a sad vision of heaven if there ever was one.
Oh! And regarding those Brooklyn Nets. No one is actually a Brooklyn Nets fan. I mean, just look how they warm up…
This fact was made clear by the crowd literally standing up each time Steph Curry had the ball (they were playing the Golden State Warriors). And though the Nets controlled the game for most of the 4 quarters, the first time the crowd made any noise through their Shake Shack-clogged mouths was when the Splash Brothers hit about 64 3-pointers in a row. But alas, it was still too late, as Jarrett Jack answered the run with a buzzer-beater in traffic. The Nets win! The Nets win! Does anyone care!? Who’s Jarrett Jack?