May 3, 2021
The Brooklyn Nets are this week’s New Yorker cover boys
Artist Mark Ulriksen’s 'Hoop Dreams in New York' celebrates the surprising reemergence of New York as a basketball Mecca
Plot twist: The Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks are good. And both feature prominently on the next cover of the New Yorker.
“New York has always been a huge basketball town,” says Mark Ulrisken about his latest cover in a Q&A with the New Yorker’s art editor. “It’s one thing for the Nets to be doing great, with their new trio of superstars, but it’s the Knicks’ performance that’s thrilling right now. They had been pretty shambolic forever. But any team can have a bad half century.”
The May 10 cartoon cover features the Nets’ big-three towering over the foreground, with the Knicks’ emerging stars Julius Randle and RJ Barrett following closely behind. The New York skyline outlines the distant background.
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Ulriksen explained that drawing the seven-foot Durant and bearded Harden was especially fun:
“People are people, so portraying athletes is similar to other portraits—though with basketball players, the pants are much shorter! These three Nets—Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden—are a joy to paint, because their faces, bodies, and beards are all very unique. I do enjoy portraying bodies that are in motion yet frozen in time. I love the idea of a still image conveying suspended animation.”
The Nets return to action Tuesday night against Eastern Conference rivals Milwaukee, while the Knicks, 9-1 in their last ten games, will seek to continue their recent dominance tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. With both teams poised for playoff runs and stadium capacity likely to increase, the Nets and Knicks are creating what could be a very fun summer in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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