For the Long Island Nets, the eagle is in the nest. And his name is Dale.
The Brooklyn Nets’ G League affiliate, which calls NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home, issued a news release Saturday announcing the arrival of the first mascot in franchise history, “Dale the Eagle.”
Dale is a bald eagle mascot featuring red, white and blue to represent both the team’s colors and “a tribute to the brave military veterans of Long Island.” The news release also stated that “Fans will see him this season soaring above the crowd with the grace of America’s mightiest bird, keeping a watchful eye and protecting his team.”
The name Dale originates from Uniondale, the town where the Coliseum is located. The mascot also will don the number 72 uniform to commemorate the year the Coliseum opened, 1972.
“In selecting the first-ever mascot, it was important to us to connect the team with the history of Long Island and our home arena,” said Alton Byrd, Long Island Nets Vice President of Business Operations. “We are looking forward to the fans meeting Dale this season and seeing him in his natural habitat. Everyone is invited to join Dale’s adventures by following #FlywithDale.”
Phil Beck of North Babylon, a graduate of Farmingdale State College, inspired Dale’s inception with his submission in the team’s mascot design contest that began in March. Beck’s prize will be a trip to the 2019 NBA G League Showcase. The league has yet to announce the dates and location of the showcase.
"A character like this definitely helps with fan engagement and to be a part of that process is awesome" Beck said.
Beck said there were several factors that played into his design.
“My inspiration for the design was based a lot on the branding of the Long Island Nets being a red, white, and blue colored team. Of course, those are patriotic colors and the best way to represent that in terms of a mascot character is a bald eagle, the national emblem of the United States. In addition to that, having it all connect back to the original New York Nets in the American Basketball Association [ABA], and them having played at the Coliseum, it’s definitely something that comes full circle and represents both eras of basketball played in this venue.”