New York Knicks: 5 Reasons Knicks, Not Brooklyn Nets, Will Always Rule NYC
With the Brooklyn Nets officially making their move from New Jersey into the city limits of New York City for the first time ever, many New Yorkers have started to fear what the move may mean.
What effect will this have on their beloved Knickerbockers? Will the Nets start gaining a bigger fan base in New York City? Will this hurt the Knicks' attendance numbers or even their ability to sign free agents?
Fear not, Knicks fans; here are five reasons why the Knicks, not the Nets, will always rule New York City.
The Nets Started as an ABA Team
While the Knicks have been in the National Basketball Association since its creation prior to the 1949-1950 season, the Nets began their existence as a member of American Basketball Association. When the team was first created, they were known as the New York Americans, yet they didn't play their home games in New York City (more on that in a second).
Regardless of where they played, back in the late 60s and early 70s, if you lived in the New York/New Jersey area, your choices were to drive to Teaneck, New Jersey to watch the Americans play or go into New York City and see the Knicks play. I can't imagine many people, when given that choice, would head south to Teaneck to watch an ABA game.
The ABA was not as respected as the NBA because it was seen as a secondary league, which it was. The competition was not as good, for the most part, and teams had a hard time drawing substantial numbers of fans consistently. This was especially difficult for the Americans (Nets) as they were trying to compete for the same crowd as the Knicks were, and they had to do it from Teaneck.
The Nets Have Never Played Their Home Games in NYC Before
When the Nets first began, and were still called the New York Americans, before their first season started they were set to play their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. However, due to pressure from the Knicks, the owners of the building backed out three months before the season started, which forced the Americans to find a new home in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Three months before they played their first game in franchise history and the Nets had already been kicked out of the city by the Knicks. And even when they made the playoffs in their first season in the ABA, the Teaneck Armory was booked, and they couldn't play their playoff game there. The replacement they found on Long Island was deemed an unsuitable environment by ABA commissioner George Mikan, and the team had to forfeit the playoff game.
They bounced around after that to another arena on Long Island, then to Nassau Coliseum, then to the Rutgers University campus, then to their longtime home in the Meadowlands, then to Newark. The team is now going to be playing their home games in Brooklyn.
Up to this point, the Nets have never had the opportunity to build a substantial fan base in New York City because they've never been a New York City team.
This also starts to explain another issue, which is that the Nets just don't have the history that the Knicks do. While obviously it's not like the Knicks have the championship banners of the Celtics or Lakers, they still have been a mainstay in New York for their entire existence. The Nets have not.
The Knicks Have Two More NBA Championships Than the Nets Do
The total championship count for the two teams is two a piece. The big difference between their championships is that both of the Knicks' are NBA Championships, and both of the Nets' are ABA Championships.
While the Nets have been in the NBA Finals more recently than the Knicks have, they have yet to reach to top of the NBA mountain.
New York City
Let me clarify the title of this slide.
The Knicks play in a city with just over 8 million people. Until next year, the Nets have been playing in a state with just over 8 million people.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of New York City as of 2010 was about 8.17 million people, while the population of the entire state of New Jersey was about 8.82 million.
OK so just over is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point I'm trying to make is that the Knicks have always played their home games a cab or subway ride away from a huge population of people, while the Nets have not. When you're a New Jersey team, you don't get all of New Jersey behind you.
Many people living in the south of New Jersey support Philadelphia sports teams because the city is much closer to them than the teams that play in the north of Jersey.
When all is said and done, the Knicks have more or less had the undivided attention of one of the biggest cities on the planet for as long as they have existed. The Nets have been playing in the Meadowlands or Newark since 1981.
Madison Square Garden
At first I thought this picture would be a detriment to my argument because if you look closely you can see it is a banner from when Madison Square Garden hosts the Big East Tournament, but that actually proves my point.
The Knicks play their home games in the most famous arena on Earth. While the Garden has lost some of its luster due to the decade of futility the Knicks are just now escaping from, it is still Madison Square Garden. It's right in the heart of New York City, one of the most prominent cities in the world, and the Knicks play every home game there.
Unless the Nets go on some sort of inhuman run and win like five championships in a row in their new building, their home will never have the same meaning or significance as the Garden.