It’s possible that the most heated and hateful rivalry in the NBA is in New York City. The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets face each other for the first time in the current regular season on Wednesday night in the famed Madison Square Garden. Basketball fans throughout the tri-state area are buzzing about this match-up. It’s safe to say that Knicks fans hate Nets fans, and vice versa; one can only surmise why. This match-up is steeped in rhetoric, and though Knicks fans hate to admit it, tradition. The rivalry commences for the 2016-17 season.
Knicks vs. Nets: The Rivalry Commences
A Little History Lesson
The Brooklyn Nets were first founded in Teaneck, New Jersey, and the team was called the New Jersey Americans in 1967. After just one season, in 1968, the Americans relocated to Long Island and became the New York Nets. It’s sad to say that the Nets started as a nomadic-type team with no fixed place of abode in its early years. Even then, the Manhattan faithful viewed them as outcasts. This was in large part because they played in the rival league to the NBA, the American Basketball Association (ABA). That never stopped the Nets from establishing a great legacy.
The Nets had the greatest ABA player ever in “Dr. J”, Julius Erving. Others like Rick Barry also wore the Nets colors. Upon the closure of the ABA, the Nets relocated to New Jersey again and became the New Jersey Nets. Greats like Bernard King, Kenny Anderson, Drazen Petrovic, Vince Carter, and Jason Kidd made the New Jersey-based team home.
Now, the Nets call Brooklyn home, which has polarized the New York faithful and tri-state area. The original Knicks fans aren’t receptive to the fact that there’s another team in the city. Brooklyn fans are ecstatic to have a professional team back in the borough. Not since the Brooklyn Dodgers had there been a team that called Brooklyn home, before the Nets moved there.
As of Monday, the Knicks and Nets have similar win-loss records. They are both 2-4, with the Nets having victories over the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, both of which were playoff teams last season. The Knicks’ victories were against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chicago Bulls. Interestingly enough, the Bulls came to the Barclays Center and played a mean trick on the Nets for Halloween, dominating them in a 30-point blowout.
The Knicks are coming off of a harsh loss against the Utah Jazz, while the Nets played gritty but lost to a very good Charlotte Hornets team. This Knicks vs. Nets game is emotional for all involved. However, it must be noted that the Knicks are presently at full strength, while the Nets are missing their floor general, Jeremy Lin. The Nets will also be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. One cannot be faulted for believing that the basketball gods are conspiring against the Nets in this matter. After all, the Nets are playing the Minnesota Timberwolves in the preamble to Wednesday night’s game.
In closing, the basketball may not be the greatest portrait, but aesthetic beauty will be an afterthought. The Knicks are playing inconsistently and the Nets’ motto for this season is “Brooklyn Grit”. Expect a dogfight, with damages given and received from both sides. As it presently stands, social media is buzzing about this match-up that is still two days away. Hopefully, the game lives up to expectations.