Why Knicks-Heat Will Be Bigger Rivalry Than Brooklyn and New York

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat fights for rebound position against Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

LeBron James knows his NBA.

A cliché? Perhaps, but true nonetheless.

So when he says the New York Knicks and Miami Heat rivalry is greater than the former's with the Brooklyn Nets, taking it to heart is the only option.

And according to Chris Tomasson Fox Sports Florida, that's exactly how the freshly crowned champion feels: 

LeBron James talked about the rivalry the #Heat have with the #Knicks.

“It’s no renewed rivalry,'' James said when it was suggested the rivalry has recently gotten going again. "The rivalry never stopped. The Knicks and the Heat will always be a rival because of the history. It started with Pat (Riley) being the coach and then coming here. I know we all know the devastating loss that they had (in Miami) when Allen Houston made the shot…So there’s a lot of history. Jeff Van Gundy grabbing Zo’s leg. So it’s a lot of history. But I’m a big history (fan).’’

Whether you love him, hate him or just tolerate him for his flamboyant sneakers is irrelevant—the Chosen One has a point.

I, like James, completely understand that the Knicks and Nets rivalry—which died immediately after the then New Jersey-based team swept New York in the first round of the 2004 NBA playoffs—is about to be rekindled.

For the first time in nearly a decade, both now New York-based teams have respectable rosters, competent dockets that will carry each franchise toward and possibly through the playoffs.

Unlike the Knicks' rivalry with the Heat, though, this one not only died, but it hardly shares a rich history.

There is no bad blood between the Knicks and Nets. None.

Did Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z get James Dolan's juices flowing back in 2010 when they had a mural set up on Orange and Blue's turf?

Of course, but that's the extent of this rivalry.

For the Knicks at least.

Prokhorov, in his never-ending quest to keep his team relevant, is liable to blow it out of proportion on occasion, but that's because, well, the Nets don't have any other rivalries brewing.

The Knicks do. None more fierce than their one with the Heat.

That's a rivalry with history. 

As James himself recalled, don't we remember Allan Houston's shot to eliminate Miami from the postseason in 1999? Or Jeff Van Gundy's futile attempt to slow down Alonzo Mourning? How about the fact that these teams have met in the playoffs five times in the last 15 years, including last season?

Once we have footage of Avery Johnson clinging onto Tyson Chandler's leg, then maybe we can revisit the issue.

But right now, the Knicks and Heat are the more potent rivalry.

A rivalry that will only continue to gain traction.


Because the Knicks have something to prove to the Heat.

For over two years, Miami has been the talk of the Association, the contender for which all contenders should be modeled after—including New York.

And the Knicks have tried, but to no avail thus far.

They've spent two seasons being overshadowed by the James and Dwyane Wade-led Heat and, subsequently, every move they've made between then and now has been with them in mind.

Enter Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks bet it all on Anthony, bet it all on his ability to push them past the Heat, past LeBron.

But he hasn't been able to. The quest thus far has culminated in a first-round exit at the very hands of the team New York was constructed to beat.

Now that James and company snagged a championship ring as well, there's a score 'Melo and the Knicks will be compelled to settle.

Because while Anthony and James are well-documented friends, you can bet David Stern's pension that he's tired of living in his shadow the way the Knicks continue to live in the Heat's.

Anthony and the rest of his team want to escape the hell that has become the darkness behind Miami. They want to free themselves from the shackles that have come with playing the role of second-rate team.

It isn't that way with the Nets. The Knicks have nothing to prove to them. New York is still their city.

But the Larry O'Brien Trophy belongs to the Heat, and the NBA's most valuable player is still James.

Until that changes, until the Knicks push past the Heat or just stop chasing them, this remains one of the most scathing engagements in the entire NBA, this remains one of the most distinguishable rivalries in all of sports.

And this remains far more pervasive than anything the Nets have to offer.


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