Mayor Bloomberg happy to have Nets in Brooklyn

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on during a news conference. (April 13, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a message for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Hey, we'll gladly take the Nets off your hands.

Bloomberg had no problem with Christie's verbal barb at the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets earlier this week, when Christie made it perfectly clear he wasn't shedding any tears over the franchise's departure from the Garden State after being there for 35 years.

"My message to them is, goodbye. You don't want to stay, we don't want you," Christie said, adding, "good riddance, see you later."

On Thursday, Bloomberg took it in stride.

"Governor Christie has always been willing to say whatever he wants to say," Bloomberg said after getting a tour to see the construction progress on the Barclays Center. "He's a big sports fan. I know. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden.

"Sports fans tend to say what they think and he's got a right to do that. He's disappointed, we're happy. OK? You win some, you lose some. I was happy that the Mets won [Wednesday], I was disappointed that the Yankees lost."

Bloomberg was speaking inside the arena's grand entrance, where he joined Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, other political officials and members of the Brooklyn community. The two announced a plan to fill 2,000 jobs -- which includes full- and part-time positions -- at the Barclays Center using New York City's Workforce1 services. Priority for the jobs is expected to go to those who live in the area.

A majority of the positions will be filled at job fairs held in June, July and August at locations in the vicinity of the arena, which is scheduled to officially open Sept. 28 with a concert by Nets part-owner Jay-Z.

"Today is one of the most important days in the history of the arena," said Ratner, who's also the arena's developer. "It's one of the most important days because we are hiring 2,000 people that are local residents. That's what makes it really important."

When the Nets, who play their last game as a New Jersey franchise in Toronto on Thursday night, move to their new digs in the fall, they should expect to see Bloomberg in the house on occasion.

"I already have my tickets for next season," Bloomberg said. "As a matter of fact, it was pointed out to me where they are going to be. We are going to have a chance to watch basketball in a wonderful arena.

"What strikes you when you look down there is everything is close to the court. It reminds me of the Cyclones' stadium in Coney Island, where you feel like you are right on the field."

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