Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Updated: March 31, 3:25 PM ET
Yormark, Lisi meet for lunch
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Nets' brown bag summit is over.
Nets chief executive Brett Yormark had a roughly 30-minute "brown bag" lunch on Tuesday with a fan he confronted last week after the man wore a paper bag over his head to protest the NBA team's dismal season.
McDonald's provided the hamburgers, fries and salads and the brown bags for Yormark, two members of the Nets' radio broadcasting team and brothers Chris and Rob Lisi of Middletown.
Yormark exchanged words and pointed his finger at Chris Lisi a week ago Monday during the Nets' loss to the Miami Heat. He defended his actions the next day, saying he was standing up for a team that at the time was in danger of setting the NBA record for fewest wins in a season (9-73).
New Jersey (10-64) has won three of four games since the incident and won't go down in history as the league's worst team. That dubious honor still belongs to the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.
"Today was another good example of us being able to tell our fans, 'Hey, when you want a voice, you'll get one with us,'" Yormark said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "That's who we are, the type of franchise we are and we want to be. I think resorting to a brown bag doesn't do anyone any good and they realize that, and they were very nice and had good things to say about the franchise."
The lunch at the team's headquarters in East Rutherford was streamed over the Nets' Web site, although the broadcast shut down because so many people logged on, Yormark said.
Yormark and broadcasters Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw did most of the talking during the lunch, noting how the Nets are in great position for the future. They will have one of the top draft picks, roughly $23 million in salary cap room to spend on a free-agent class that might include LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and they have a couple young stars in point guard Devin Harris and center Brook Lopez.
Yormark spoke with the brothers after the lunch and invited them to attend another game.
"I think, in many respects, a lot of good things have come out of this," Yormark said. "We were able to reinforce our message to season ticket-holders. We don't have any more brown bags in the building, not that we had a lot to begin with before that incident -- our players seemed to rally around it and we are playing our best basketball of the season.
"I don't know if it was a negative," Yormark added. "It was an unfortunate incident. I try to make the most of any situation and I think I did."
The brown bag lunch wasn't the only marketing Yormark did after his run-in with Chris Lisi.
Two days after the exchange, the Nets offered any fan who put a paper bag on his head during a game against the Sacramento Kings a nylon Nets bag containing a poster, a pack of player trading cards and a printed note from Yormark that said: "Thanks for letting us see your face. We hope to see it more often at Nets' games."
Two people accepted the exchange offer, the Nets said.