A rare photo – a New York Knick championship team, vintage 1970. One of the original two NBA franchises – along with the Boston Celtics – the Knicks have won just two titles in more than 60 years.
The New York Knickerbockers are a team long on history but short on success.
One of only two charter franchises in the NBA, the Knicks have won just two championships since the league’s inception in 1946. By comparison, the Boston Celtics, the NBA’s other flagship franchise, have won 17 NBA championships over that same period of time.
Knicks fans are cautiously optimistic that this year’s team is finally heading in the right direction after a decade of disaster that was the Isiah Thomas regime. Although improving, the Knicks aren’t a championship contender…not yet, at least.
The Knicks won their first NBA title in 1970 when Willis Reed limped onto the court to incent the crowd and his teammates, and Walt "Clyde" Frazier played one of the best Game Sevens ever to bury the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks beat the Lakers three years later and haven’t won a championship since. That’s 37 years without a title, if you’re counting. Knicks fans are.
The Knickerbockers had some success in the early 50s, advancing to the NBA Finals three straight years beginning in 1951. Coach Joe Lapchick and stars like Harry "The Horse" Gallatin, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton and Dick McGuire led those Knicks. who nearly overcame a 3-0 deficit before losing to the Rochester Royals in a seven-game series in 1951.
The Knicks made two other championship runs in the 90s with Patrick Ewing at center. They lost to the Houston Rockets in a seven-game NBA Finals in 1994, and then fell to the ascending San Antonio Spurs in 1999, when Ewing was injured and missed the finals.
And that's the short championship history of the New York Knicks.