Brooklynites want to break some new ground at Barclays Center.
Some want the arena, home of the Brooklyn Nets, to be renamed for Jackie Robinson. Others want the NBA to change the team’s name to honor the Dodgers legend and civil rights leader.
Arthur Piccolo wants the arena named for Robinson.
“I first started when the arena was first proposed and was being built,” Piccolo, president of the Bowling Green Association, told this paper. “I took the attitude as a lifelong Brooklynite that it should be more than just a marketing opportunity for a company and I totally failed in my attempt.”
Piccolo was inspired to try again during the recent protests by Black Lives Matter.
“Now what’s happened in the last few months, a lot of unworthy individuals and symbols are being torn down. I think the opposite should be just as important and it hasn’t been emphasized,” he said.
With the exception of a few parks and the Jackie Robinson Highway, Piccolo believes the Baseball Hall of Famer’s legacy is not adequately represented in the borough.
“From a Brooklyn perspective, there is nobody in Brooklyn’s history who is more important and more famous than Jackie Robinson,” he said.
Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblymember Robert Carroll are in favor of honoring Robinson.
“Jackie Robinson was a giant who paved the way for integration in Major League Baseball and broke down the pervasive racial barriers in mid-century America,” said Adams. “He contributed greatly to this borough and this city as a player, and as a private citizen. His example has inspired generations, and the causes he fought for in his time are now being taken up by activists across the country who are tired of racial injustice.”
Carroll wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Nets owner Joe Tsai asking them to consider changing the team’s name to pay tribute to Robinson.
“[The name] kind of rings New Jersey to me,” he told this paper. “The Nets have been here for eight years, and if we are talking about changing names of sports teams, why don’t we talk about the sports team in our backyard?
“Brooklyn has always been a diverse and forward thinking place. It behooves us to do this. I’m excited to hear back from Commissioner Silver and Tsai and engage with them.”