Brooklyn returned to major pro sports on Saturday, welcomed back by some beloved former stars and ready to embrace the Nets the way it once did the Dodgers.
The Nets played their delayed first regular-season game at Barclays Center, two days after they were supposed to open against the New York Knicks. That was postponed by Superstorm Sandy that heavily damaged the city's mass-transit system, but the building seemed nearly full during a lively pregame ceremony despite lingering transportation troubles.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said he was honored to ''celebrate the resiliency of this community'' and to ''welcome Brooklyn, USA to the NBA.''
The Nets are the first major pro sports team to play in Brooklyn since the Dodgers left in 1957. Former Dodgers Ralph Branca and Joe Pignatano, a Brooklyn native, and Gil Hodges, Jr., whose father starred with the Dodgers, exchanged jerseys with Nets players.