They now reside a Steve Novak three-point field goal from each other—a borough apart, a bridge too far, from Midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn. The Knicks have always been New York, residing in Madison Square Garden, the Mecca for hoops, the World's Most Famous Arena.
And now the Nets, the perpetual nomads of the tri-state area—relocated from Long Island to East Rutherford to Newark—are trying to establish themselves as more New York than the Knicks. They are Brooklyn, where fans still hold the itinerant Dodgers in their hearts.
But where this will be decided is on the basketball court. It's not settled yet, thanks in part to the tragic arrival of Hurricane Sandy—postponing what would have been a gala opening night for the Nets in Brooklyn. The scheduled debut of Barclays Center was washed out, but the two will begin this new phase of the rivalry now in earnest, trying to prove that they are the class of New York.
The Nets may have the new, but the Knicks still have the advantage in the hearts of New York, and most important, on the court.