ESPN’s Zach Lowe just dropped a short, fun oral history about the time the New Jersey Nets tried to change their name to the Swamp Dragons. Why would they do this? Because as former Nets president Jon Spoelstra put it, “Every time I look out the window here, I see this swamp... Dragons are mythical, and fun.”
The idea was floated by Spoelstra and a few of the Nets’ co-owners in the mid-90's, and actually came very close to becoming a reality. The team even went so far as to pick out a new color scheme and hire a designer to create a new logo and court design. The proposed change had one very staunch opponent in then-NBA commissioner David Stern, who has a real star turn in Lowe’s oral history:
Step 2: Get David Stern to back the change. Spoelstra and O’Grady pitched the idea in Stern’s office.
SPOELSTRA: David told me, ‘This is the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.’
O’GRADY: He did say that. It wasn’t the first time he said something like that. I had an open-door policy on dumb ideas.
STERN: If they say I said that, I’m sure I did.
In the end, the Swamp Dragons idea was voted on by the 27 NBA owners, and the Nets needed a supermajority to get their new name. I won’t spoil the reason why that vote didn’t work out, but the Swamp Dragons’ eventual demise was a deservedly absurd one. Now go read the whole thing.