- Last Updated: 3:42 AM, July 11, 2012
- Posted: 2:24 AM, July 11, 2012
Maybe the fates are about to stop being so cruel. Maybe this time, along Flatbush Avenue, it will feel as if Ralph Branca has rifled a fastball past Bobby Thomson more than half a century later.
They wait now for Dwight Howard, even as construction workers remain busy bees making the Barclays Center whole for the 2012 Brooklyn Nets. They can’t wait, those who are not wearing Linsanity T-shirts, but they will wait, because when you have waited 55 years for a professional team to call your own, another 24 hours is bearable.
Mikhail Prokhorov doesn’t need a billboard staring right at James Dolan’s Garden anymore. If he succeeds at this bold game of Russian Woo-lette, then the Nets owner’s Blueprint for Greatness will be the Knicks’ worst Dwightmare.
If you build it, they will come indeed.
Joe Johnson coming and Deron Williams staying puts Brooklyn on the map. Adding Superman would make Brooklyn a world superpower.
If there are a people and a place who deserve a team like this, it is these people and this place.
Over a cell phone, a kid out of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn named Dwayne “Pearl” Washington was asked about the possibility of Howard coming to the Nets.
“That’s a major, major move for them,” he said.
Major enough for Pearl Washington to talk about buying season tickets should the dream deal become reality.
“You’re talking about maybe the third-best player in the NBA,” he said. “You’re talking about a center who can do it all. You’re talking about a guy that can make a difference.”
Howard to Brooklyn makes The City Game more alive than it has been since 1973, when the Knicks last won a championship. Outside Modell’s yesterday, across from the skeleton of the Barclays Center, there were Knicks fans, such as Daniel Roberts and Steve Ramsey, who sounded ready to welcome the rivalry as a Dr. J slam dunk.
Washington, who played for the Nets in ’86 and ’87, said: “I think it’s going to be very competitive between the Knicks and Nets. When the Knicks go play the Nets in Brooklyn, it’s going to be a major, major, major event.”
Jomaul Williams of Brooklyn is convinced Howard would make the Nets better than the Knicks.
“What you have is the best center in the league, the second or third-best point guard [Deron Williams], and you got two other All-Stars [Johnson and Gerald Wallace],” Williams said. “But the Knicks, they have so many things to figure out, it’s been 10-12 years of just futility — bad play, bad trades, bad signings.”
A Deron Williams billboard — Deron’s Moving to Metro (PCS) — loomed large over Junior’s, the famous cheesecake factory on Flatbush.
“We’re rooting for the Knicks and the Knicks are across the Hudson, a lot of us can’t afford to go out there,” Williams said. “We’re a large population of people, all types: black, Latino, Spanish, white, everything. We’re all going to be rooting for one team.”
Ben Grossman, who owns the The Smoke Joint in Fort Greene — “best barbecue in Brooklyn,” he says — is a Knicks fan who would welcome Howard.
“It’s New York, I’m a New York fan,” Grossman said. “I’m a Met fan, I don’t hate the Yankees, I’m not one of those guys. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Jay-Z in concert to open the Barclays Center at the end of September. Maybe Superman, Williams and Johnson in concert, too.
Wayne Wilcox of Flatbush is a Knicks fan. He won’t abandon them, but said: “If they get Dwight Howard, I’ll be looking into getting maybe probably some season tickets.”
Abby Kaloshi headed into Modell’s to check out a “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” T-shirt.
“Once the logo came out, that’s all people have been wearing and buying and everything,” she said.
Inside Junior’s, Rene Cyrille was asked about Howard to Brooklyn and said: “I think there’s a championship near.”
Added Gavin McClintock: “He’d be like the King of Brooklyn.”
Across from them sat Paul Leo Davis.
“When the Dodgers left and went to L.A., it broke our hearts, right?” Davis said. “You’re familiar with Dorothy right? There’s no place like home.”
There’s no place like a home with Howard playing with Williams and Johnson in the backyard.Follow @NYPostsports