Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 11:53 am est

Knicks, Nets history differs from current basketball scene

Posted on November 5, 2013 | by Charles Surette

Keith Allison via flickr.com

The New York Knicks have consistently held court as the city’s basketball royalty. With an illustrious history full of some of the game’s greatest players, they have reigned supreme from their throne in Madison Square Garden in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, playing host to the likes of Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony.

For a long time, the Knicks’ legendary status seemed untouchable, especially by the lowly New Jersey Nets, now Brooklyn Nets, who spent most of their three-decade history wandering the hinterlands west of the Hudson at the bottom of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

Fast forward to 2013. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov moved the Nets from Newark, N.J. to nouveau-hip Brooklyn.

With an influx of money from their wealthy owner, the Nets have made waves since the team acquired high-profile veteran forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Pierce and Garnett now play alongside established point guard Deron Williams and a supporting cast of Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez — a championship-caliber team in the making.

The Nets have not come this close to rivaling the Knicks for New York basketball supremacy since Jason Kidd arrived in the summer of 2001.

The newly minted Brooklynites now inhabiting Barclays Center seem to sense this special opportunity to shock the world and shift control of the city’s basketball scene across the East River. Upon arriving in Brooklyn after a 15-year stay with the Boston Celtics, Pierce remarked that “it’s time for the Nets to start running this city,” firing the first shots of an escalating crosstown rivalry.

When Knicks guard J.R. Smith dismissed Pierce as a “bitter person” and reminded fans of the name written across the front of the Knicks’ jersey. Pierce was asked about this comment by the media and could only cheekily respond, “who?”

This kind of sparring between the Knicks and the Nets is something almost entirely new to the city’s basketball culture. The Nets have been a mere afterthought for most of their existence, save for two consecutive trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. The Nets have otherwise been absent from the playoffs recently and have a history of little fan support.

Now things feel different. The Knicks haven’t seen championship glory since 1973, leaving many fans restless and disillusioned after front office failures and problem players sullied the franchise’s good name in the decade after the successes of the Ewing-led teams of the 1990s. Moreover, the feeling pervades that the Knicks remain a club for Manhattan rather than for all boroughs. Brooklyn, without a professional sports team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1958, finally has a team to call its own.

Although the Knicks command a massive amount of fans, the seeds of homegrown support for the Nets are already being sown on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. With a reloaded roster and newfound support, the Nets appear ready to show the Knicks that they’re not alone in the city anymore.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 5 print edition. Charles Surette is a contributing writer. Email him at sports@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next