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The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball franchise based in Brooklyn, New York, a borough of New York City. They are a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as an original member of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
Led by Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving, the Nets won two ABA championships in New York before becoming one of four ABA teams to be admitted into the NBA as part of the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. The team then moved back to New Jersey in 1977 and became the New Jersey Nets. During their time in that state, the Nets saw periods of losing and misfortune intermittent with several periods of success, which culminated in two consecutive NBA Finals appearances in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons by teams led by point guard Jason Kidd.
After 35 seasons in New Jersey, the team returned to the state of New York in 2012 to play in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the Brooklyn Nets.
The Boston Celtics were once rivals of the Nets during the early 2000s due to their respective locations and their burgeoning stars. The Nets were led by Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, while the Celtics were experiencing newfound success behind Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker. The rivalry began to heat up in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, which was preceded by trash talking from the Celtics who claimed Martin was a "fake" tough guy. Things progressed as the series started, and on-court tensions seemed to spill into the stands. Celtic fans berated Kidd and his family with chants of "Wife Beater!" in response to Kidd's 2001 domestic abuse charge. When the series returned to New Jersey, Nets fans responded, with some brandishing signs that read "Will someone please stab Paul Pierce?" referring to a night club incident in 2000 in which Pierce was stabbed 11 times.