When the New York Knicks announced back in February the formation of a new Development League team to be headquartered in Westchester, N.Y., it was widely applauded as a savvy step forward for a franchise too often mesmerized by its own supposed mystique.
Then they opened up the naming process to fans, giving them a chance to exorcise decades of frustrated futility in turning a page, albeit small, on a new era.
Surely they would come up with a moniker that spoke to New York’s quantum historical and cultural heritage—an ode to the creative faculties that we Americans...
The Westchester Knicks? Trillions of combinations of letters, literally hundreds of thousands of directions you could’ve taken this—the Westchester Empire, the Westchester Space Pirates, the Westchester Zoobedabopadoos—and you land on..the Knicks.
Criminally uncreative name aside, let’s give due dap for New York’s graphic gurus opting to incorporate Father Knickerbocker—who graced the team’s original logo way back in 1946—into the design scheme.
“We are excited for the Westchester Knicks to bring NBA-caliber basketball and affordable, family-friendly entertainment to Westchester County Center this fall,” said Dave Howard, president of MSG Sports, via NBA.com. “Thank you to all the fans who went online to submit team name suggestions. We are proud to be extending the Knicks brand to Westchester.”
This isn’t about really about brands and colors, of course. It’s about the Knicks stepping into the 21st century and acknowledging that, in the context of the current CBA, teams with ins on developing good, young talent on the cheap will have a decided advantage.
The Westchester County Center is in White Plains, not far from where the Knicks' training facility is located. The relocation should make it much easier for players to move back and forth between the Knicks and the...well, they won't still be called the BayHawks, will they? The White Plains Shopping Centers? White Plains Deer? Westchester Chestwesters?
They'll figure it out. This is good. It allows people in the area to check out the D-League franchise if they'd like, and it should strengthen ties between the Knicks and their affiliate. No word yet on when this is happening, but it seems like a plausible move to happen for next season.
By giving the 'Bocker faithful a more intimate stake in their franchise’s development process, the Knicks are taking yet another step—the most obvious being the recent hiring of Phil Jackson—in recalibrating the franchise’s culture along more open, transparent lines.
That’s the hope, anyway.
Go Other Knicks!