Isaiah Hartenstein is even more beloved by New York Knicks fans now. Not only has he stepped up in Mitchell Robinson's absence, but he's also (politely) dissed the Nets.
Hartenstein and the Knicks are gearing up for their first game against the Nets in 2023-24. After returning from a four-game road trip out west, New York has one more "away" game before the team will be back at MSG. Technically, the Knicks will be the visitors at Barclays on Wednesday, but it'll have the feel of a home game.
For starters, watching the Knicks play in Brooklyn costs less than it does in Manhattan. That in itself can be enough to lure Knicks fans to make the trek to Brooklyn. There's also the fact that New York is one of the most popular teams in the league, and regardless of where the Knicks play, the fan base will make their presence known.
In Isaiah Hartenstein's eyes, there isn't much to the Knicks-Nets rivalry because when he's been to Barclays with New York, the crowd has been full of Knicks fans.
"Is there a rivalry? I mean, I don’t feel it,” Hartenstein, the Knicks center, said. “I mean, most of the time we go to Barclays it’s mostly Knicks fans so I don’t know if it’s really a rivalry at this point."- Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Post
Isaiah Hartenstein says he doesn't "feel" there's a Knicks-Nets rivalry
Except for the fans who lack self-awareness, the majority of Nets fans should have no issue admitting that there are far more Knicks fans than Nets fans. That's a simple fact.
Another fact is that Isaiah Hartenstein is in his second season in New York, so he's going off what he's experienced. The all-time regular season record between the two teams doesn't matter to him (Brooklyn has the 107-103 advantage). Nets fans have been scrambling to prove that there is a rivalry in the wake of Hartenstein's comments, but none of what is said will change how he feels.
He's been in New York for a year and a half, and during that span, the Knicks have regained the advantage. There's no more Kevin Durant, no more Kyrie Irving. The Knicks are back on top. Hartenstein, who will start on Wednesday, hopes to keep it that way.