One of the most memorable games last season was on the night of November 26 when the New York Knicks made their much-hyped first visit across the Brooklyn bridge and finally got their chance to welcome in their new cross-town neighbors.
All fans remember that game and no doubt forgot how thrilling it was for fans of both teams. Of course the Knicks lost in overtime, but after the game was over I still proclaimed to the Twitter verse that “Knicks vs. Nets is the new Knicks vs. Heat”. I was so thrilled to finally have a new genuine rivalry that I really didn’t seem to care how manufactured it was.
I think that ever since the Monday Night Wars subsided, there’s always been a vacuum of feuds I felt I actually had much invested in.
Besides, every team needs a heel and now that the Knicks seemingly overcame their own futility as being their biggest villains, I was happy to make the Nets our newest enemy. After all, the Nets are pretty easy to hate on for Knick fans.
Let’s not forget:
• The Nets trolling Knick fans with their infamous “Blueprint for Greatness” billboards.
• That annoying Barclays Announcer guy. (Especially that Goldberg-like “Brooooklyn” chant that gets piped in from the Speakers while fans are too busy playing with their smart phones.)
• Brooklyn’s naturally occurring “Hipster” fan base. (See HBO’s Girls)
• Prokhorov’s nefarious and open plan of turning Knick fans into Nets fans
• Reggie Evans
• Jay-Z’s faux fandom
• Sheep that follow whatever Jay-Z is attached to
• Reggie Evans
• Their crappy jerseys
• REGGIE EVANS
Those are just a few of the reasons I was enraged last year and, of course, things should be even more amplified with noted Knick haters Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce joining the fray and bringing with them all their bad blood from Boston.
Pierce has been the most vocal with his hatred of New York with multiple headlines abusing J.R. Smith, who poked fun of Pierce to begin with but was clowned by Jason Terry, who clowned him back, which no doubt comes from their dust-up in the playoffs.
I feel like some kind of teen gossip columnist just trying to keep track of all this chatter. And yet despite all these vocal lobs, I actually am done caring about what this kind of frivolity does for this rivalry.
Thinking back to my bold “Knicks vs. Nets is the new Knicks vs. Heat” decree, I couldn’t feel any more embarrassed.
I realized something about this “feud” as of late, and that is that there is no way this rivalry is even close to the Knicks’ legendary battles with the houses of Miami, Chicago, and Indiana. What made those battles epic was the fact that these wars took place when it counted, on the court and during the deep end of the playoffs.
These were battles with feared teams and reputable players that paid their dues their entire careers and backed their words in the thick of it. Yeah, I won’t deny the fact that all of the physical altercations, such as Jeff Van Gundy gripping Alonzo Mourning’s leg and hanging on to his dear life, certainly added to the drama, but these were teams clearly on paths to the Finals.
As for the Knicks and Nets, well, just look at their accomplishments over the past six years. You probably couldn’t come up with much did you?
Here, I’ll list it: Between both teams, that’s only four total playoff appearances with every one of them but one resulting a dispirited first round exit.
See the difference?
It’s worth noting that team leaders Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams have, for the most part, stayed away from the chatter but other players haven’t followed their lead.
The takeaway here is that until the Knicks and Nets actually live up to the classic feuds of the teams many of us grew up on, this is rivalry is much more hyperbole than it is real.
Any NBA fan will tell you that the most exciting rivalries happened when it mattered, and until the Knicks and Nets make themselves a relevant force around the league, this “rivalry” will only rage on through the New York media.
There’s no denying these teams don’t like each other, but there is also no denying that for fans of both team, we rather see these battles take place in the Eastern Conference finals than in the papers.
So on that end, I say to both teams: “Knock it off already and save the battles for the court”