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HOOPS COMES HOME
RICK TELANDER
October 15, 2012
Four decades after he chronicled Brooklyn's vibrant street basketball scene, the author returns to the borough that spawned generations of schoolboy legends (not to mention legendary characters)and finally has an NBA team of its own
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October 15, 2012

Hoops Comes Home

Four decades after he chronicled Brooklyn's vibrant street basketball scene, the author returns to the borough that spawned generations of schoolboy legends (not to mention legendary characters)and finally has an NBA team of its own

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The league approved, Prokhorov shelled out $223 million for 80% control of the team and 45% of the arena, and perestroika won the day. It was a wise investment: Forbes estimated the team's value this summer at $575 million.

"I want to make the Brooklyn Bridge longer," says the 6' 8" Prokhorov on the day of the ribbon cutting for Barclays Center. "From Brooklyn to Russia."

When I mention to this man who ran for Russian president earlier this year that the Knicks will now be his biggest rival, his biggest enemy, he smiles.

"Why not?"

Well, is that a good thing?

"Of course," he says without a hint of concern. "I am not afraid."

The beat is only one half of a rap song's rhythm. The other is the flow.... The flow isn't like time, it's like life. It's like a heartbeat or the way you breathe, it can jump, speed up, slow down, stop.... If the beat is time, flow is what we do with that time, how we live through it.

—JAY-Z, Decoded, 2011

We are at Foster Park again, Albert and I, on a sunny Saturday, and the courts are jumping. Winston is also here, my old landlord, Albert's mentor. So is Mark Bailey, a.k.a. Doodie from the old Subway Stars. He's married now, lives down the block.

There are kids playing, early teenagers who remind me of nothing so much as the same teenaged kids I met when I first walked into the park so long ago. How long ago? The two World Trade Center towers had been completed just a few months earlier.

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