The 1990s featured some of the greatest New York Knicks teams that we have ever seen. Year in and year out, they went to the playoffs only to be disappointed by some of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history, courtesy of two of the most clutch performers in NBA history.
Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller.
If you dare to utter either of these players' names in Manhattan, you better have some brass knuckles in your back pocket.
To this day most Knicks fans still swear that Michael Jordan did not drop 55 points in his first game back at Madison Square Garden since retiring, and others still deny that Reggie Miller really scored eight points in 8.9 seconds back in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
So with images of disappointment still stuck in every New Yorker's memory, I will start a debate that no other Knick fan has had the heart to ever even bring up. My question is one that dates back to events years ago. My question is...
Who killed Knick teams more in the 1990s and kept us from championship glory, Reggie Miller or Michael Jordan?
The Case for Michael Jordan...
Michael Jordan might be the greatest player that ever played in the NBA. One of the things that really made "Air Jordan" great was his ability to shine brightest on the biggest stages, and there was no better way for MJ to show off his skills then during games at "The World's Most Famous Arena," Madison Square Garden. Jordan had some of the most impressive games of his career against the Knicks. If not for Jordan, there very well might be a few more banners hanging at Madison Square Garden.
Who could ever forget the "double nickel" game on March 28, 1995 when Jordan dropped 55 on the Knicks in his fifth game back from a 17-month retirement. This game turned out to be the highest-rated regular season game in NBA history and was one of the key games of Jordan's career, allowing him to regain confidence that he would use to win three more championships in his career.
If you need more proof of MJ destroying championship opportunities for the Knicks, just take a look at the clear impact he had on the outcome of each and every game. There is an interesting fact about Michael Jordan facing the Knicks in playoff series': Never once did the Knicks beat the Bulls in a playoff series with Jordan on the Bulls roster. However, during the 1993-94 season (when Michael Jordan had retired) the Knicks beat the Bulls and advanced to the NBA finals that season.
So how could you possibly argue that if not for Jordan, the Knicks may have been to a few more NBA Championships, and most likely would have won at least one.
The Case for Reggie Miller...
Reggie Miller vs. the Knicks. Watching some of those games was like watching a Disney movie because some of the things that Reggie Miller did really didn't seem quite possible. Miller's performances against the Knicks were so spectacular that they got their own ESPN special. Now that's impressive.
What Reggie Miller really did great was get in the heads of Knicks fans and players. His "choke" gesture is an image that New Yorkers can still picture so perfect in their heads that you would think they had photographic memories. Then you have his rivalry with Spike Lee and the headbutt he received courtesy of John Starks, which just give us more reason to hate him.
However, above all that there is one moment that I think all Knicks fans would agree was the most memorable: The 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals. With 18.7 seconds left and the Knicks leading 106-99, it looks like, barring a miracle, the Knicks were going home with the win. Then, all Reggie Miller did was score eight points in 8.9 seconds to single-handedly beat the Knicks with arguably the greatest late game performance in NBA history.
Both Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan turned in their finest performances every time they played the Knicks.
But which one more responsible for the Knicks not winning a single championship throughout the 90s?
In my opinion it's Reggie Miller.
The guy got in the head of just about every New Yorker, including the 12 on the Knicks roster. He absolutely demolished the Knicks almost by himself on more than one occasion. He had some great moments against the Knicks, and the 1995 game is just the icing on the cake.
Reggie Miller is the ultimate Knick killer!
So what do you think? Please leave comments saying who you think is the ultimate Knick killer of the 90s. I look forward to hearing from you.