In order to convince Brooklynites to stay loyal to the New York Knicks, I could portray the New Jersey Nets as “carpetbaggers.” The Reconstruction-era term describes those that move to a new location to exploit the locals. I could mention that the Nets are unstable with regards to their location, having multiple homes during their short existence (Long Island Arena, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Rutgers Athletic Center, and Izod Center). I could imply that Brooklyn will be their new home until their next new home, and like the Dodgers before them they could head for another city. I could mention the Nets miserable history, and as bad as the Knicks have been recently the Nets have been worse. Just last year, the Nets lost a franchise high 70 games.
Instead, I think there’s a better reason for Kings County residents to remain with the Knicks. From 2002-2007, the Nets reached the playoffs six straight times including losing the finals twice. New York’s last successful era was from 1988-2001, and like the Nets, the team nearly won two championships. Think about those times and what do New Yorkers remember? Starks’ dunk over Jordan. Ewing vs. Olajuwon. Houston’s game winner. LJ’s four-point play.
But what about the Nets? New Jersey went to the finals in 2002, but the memorable event of that postseason was the badly officiated Lakers-Kings series. Can you recall a single moment from the Nets in that playoff series? How about from any of the Nets postseason series? If you can’t think of a single significant moment from the Nets, don’t fret because no one else does either. Google “Knicks Greatest Moments” and you’ll receive 109,000 links. Google “Nets Greatest Moments” and you’ll be asked if meant “Mets Greatest Moments,” with zero of New Jersey’s best memories.
If any NBA fan talks about Jordan, Olajuwon, Reggie, or Mourning, the Knicks will undoubtedly enter the conversation. New Jersey faced the Lakers and Spurs in the 2002 playoffs, yet you could talk all day about Shaq, Kobe, or Duncan without mentioning the Nets. Historically, the Knicks have been relevant, so much that they’ve become a part of the NBA annals. And even though the Nets had some success, they have become historically insignificant.
At KnickerBlogger.Net I often feature statistics over passion. However, being a fan is all about emotion, and in that category the Knicks have the Nets beat.
Mike Kurylo is a life-long New Yorker who created and maintains the Knicks blog Knicker Blogger at www.knickerblogger.net.