Home Featured Sports Fans: Are the Knicks Losing Their Hold of NYC?

Sports Fans: Are the Knicks Losing Their Hold of NYC?

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As much as I like to make fun of them, Knicks fans have to be commended. They are outspoken and genuinely believe that each year is their year. Despite the fact that it’s been 40 years since the 1973 championship, you wouldn’t know it by the ticket and jersey sales, YouTube views, blog posts, and general “fandom.”

All that said, it’s time to wonder if the New York City basketball landscape is up for grabs. The Nets have moved to Brooklyn and might represent the closest thing to hope NYC basketball fans have experienced in a while. Let’s look at some of the drama around the Knicks right now, and why this might be the perfect time for a Nets coup.

The Knicks still…STILL aren’t title contenders:

As mentioned above, the Knicks are starting their fifth decade without a championship. That means most of the Knick fans reading this weren’t born when their team last won a ring. In that time, New York has had a lot more terrible rosters than competing ones. This year’s group looks like another first-round playoff team.

The team’s biggest acquisitions are the 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year (Jason Kidd) and 1996 number two pick (Marcus Camby) who are a combined 77 years old. Neither of these players are gamechangers anymore. They also picked up Ray Felton, all 250 pounds of him, in a trade with Portland. On top of this, all signs point to the Knicks letting Jeremy Lin leave for the Houston Rockets. While I’m not sold on Lin’s 6-weeks of production, I’d rather have him than Kidd or Felton at this point.

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That leaves the Knicks with a hole at point guard, shooting guard (until Iman Shumpert gets healthy), and a question mark at power forward. That’s not the mark of a championship team. The Knicks seem much more likely to disappoint their fans again and lose early in the playoffs.

This summer reminds me of several others under James Dolan, the team’s owner, who instills zero confidence in anybody. Remember the Isaiah Years? How long will fans put up with a rudderless team they know isn’t going anywhere?

There is drama circulating around the team…again:

This time before the season has even started. Kidd, the new starting point guard (assuming Felton continues to be an anvil), was busted last weekend for DWI after crashing into a telephone pole.

The team’s GM dodged Houston Rockets representatives like a convict avoiding a summons. AND Carmelo Anthony, the team’s best player, openly commented on Lin’s free agency, calling the contract he received “ridiculous” to reporters.

You wouldn’t watch a VH-1 reality show with this kind of drama because it would seem too fake. Why put up with it from a basketball team that isn’t even winning? Especially when there is a shiny new team down the street that is building momentum without all of this mess. On that note…

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Brooklyn might actually be good:

While everyone, myself included, laughed at the team’s struggles for years and assumed Deron Williams would bolt to Dallas, the Nets built a solid team for the upcoming season.

Forget Joe Johnson’s horrific contract. He’s a very good player who does well playing off of a great point guard. He showed us that in Phoenix playing next to Steve Nash. Gerald Wallace was overpaid, but for now he’s still a good, super-athletic small forward. Kris Humphries might be a clown, but he can rebound better than almost anyone in the league. And Brook Lopez is a solid offensive center. Add it up and the Nets are looking at a good season next year.

The possibility of the Nets (still) adding Dwight Howard down the road should be scary to the Knicks front office. He would add intrigue, star power, and NBA First Team production to the Nets roster. While the Knicks spin their wheels, the Nets could swoop in and steal headlines, ESPN coverage, and (most importantly) fans from a once preeminent franchise. I would never say the Knicks will become irrelevant, but Brooklyn is making a strong case to become the team you mention first when you talk about New York professional basketball.

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Am I crazy, SBM Sports Fans? Will Knicks fans stick by their team forever, no matter how bad they are? There will always be loyal Knick fans, but are casual fans starting to cross over? What else has to happen for Brooklyn to become “New York’s team?” Assuming both teams make the playoffs, who do you think will go further?

Hit the comments and let me know!

Comment(23)

  1. Never really thought about it, but this is so true. As a New Yorker, I have been surrounded by Knicks fans (though I'm a Laker fan and have been for ages)….and every single year….my friends talk about it being the season the Knicks win a championship. They even had the audacity to think the Knicks could beat the Heat in the playoffs last year. Crazy talk lol. But it will be amusing to see the Brooklyn Nets band wagons and the new Subway series between the Knicks and Nets.

  2. I think it will be divided primarily by age group, i see younger ppl rockin with the New Jigga Nets, and the older crowd sticking with the Knickerbockers.

    1. That's an interesting point. I could see an older Knick fan being willing to 'go down with the ship' so to speak.

      I wonder how much influence Jay Z has over that younger fan base. Isn't he doing like 8 shows to open up the arena? Used to be MSG…could start to turn the tide.

  3. This hits home for me but first a few things. The Knicks aren't all that bad. They're still a playoff team, they're just not an elite team in the NBA and that's fine. The team has only been together for one short year. Melo also didn't call Lin ridiculous, he called the contract ridiculous. It was a ploy by the Rockets, they exploited the Knicks weakness in the third year. The Knicks simply couldn't afford the third year. That contract that was for $25 million would end up costing them, I believe, $53 million after the luxury tax.

    Contrary to the belief of people like Metta World Streetz, i'm actually a Orioles fan. That's one of the few teams in the DMV I can actually tolerate. And then… the Nats came to town. I had some choices to make, but I had to stick with the Orioles as my team and the Nats just like every other DC team, I wish them the best because the city is better when they're winning but I can't hope loyalty.

    I CAME CLOSE and i've always tried to explain the rules with you jumping ship from a team.

    1) The Orioles actually tanked for several years in the bottom of the division. They didn't just suck, the owner admittedly wasn't going to field a competitive team because he wanted ticket prices to stay low.
    2) In order to keep the price of the team down, he also continuously made HORRIBLE roster decisions. Trading away all young talents, prospects and anything remotely close to a star player.
    3) Then the owner DISCONTINUED train service after games back to DC on weekdays.

    If the Knicks did that, which they have never done like the Orioles did. Every Knick fan would be ok to switch over to Brooklyn. NYK fans have too much pride to ever do something like that. You'll see fans just like me, they're Knicks fans, but they think Brooklyn is good for the city so they won't hate on them.

    This WILL be interesting though. At least they have different stadiums. If you look at the Clippers and Lakers, that might resemble this situation because they're in the same division and competitive. However, with them playing in the same building it makes it interesting and the Lakers are the team in LA. The difference between saying the Knicks are THE team in NYC is that Brooklyn is a huge city on its own. Brooklyn runs Brooklyn.

    1. Yeah I remember your post about 'hometown' rules. I was especially curious how you'd feel when it was one of your teams, lol.

      You make some good points. The Knicks aren't in a situation where they have 0 talent, but when you add up the years (…and years) of not winning and general irrelevance, I'd think that would take it's toll. Moreso for the casual fan. A die hard Knick fan isn't gonna jump ship…I could see a lot doing so though.

      Off the top of your head, who wins a best of 7 playoff series right now? I don't think the answer is obvious, which says to me that the casual Knick fan could be swayed.

      1. I think the casual Knick fan could be swayed and start rooting for the Nets, but I don't think it means they will completely just dismiss the Knicks and stop rooting for them all together. I'd guess they'd just root for both and cheer louder for whichever team is doing better at the time.

        Best of 7 series…eh, I don't know. A lot of variables to consider there. Put a gun to my head, though, right now…I guess I'd go Knicks in 7 (assuming they had home court…if not then Nets).

        Oh, and if the Knicks wanted to they could pay Jeremy Lin that third year, no problem. They're already capped out as it is so paying tax isn't a major deterrent to a billionaire owner. It's just your basic value proposition…is he worth the $30 MM hit. I guess Dolan thinks no.

        1. "I'd guess they'd just root for both and cheer louder for whichever team is doing better at the time."

          *pukes* The fans I hate the most, lol.

          About Lin, I agree he isn't worth ~$15MM plus $30, BUT if you're capped out anyway, and you're a billionaire, then who cares? All the dumb contracts they've given out, they can't find money for Lin? I think he's their best option of the three…i'd pay for that. Plus he's a huge expiring contract at the end. That would seem like a plus.

      2. My personal opinion is that part of being a Knicks fan is the suffering though the years (…and years) of not winning. They are more than welcome to disagree but listen to how they talk about the fans of teams that win. They absolutely loathe winning, they want you to lose. To them, that means real fanhood.

        I think the Knicks win that 7-game series in 5 games. They're battle tested. Melo, Kidd and Chandler have all been deep in the playoffs. The Nets have not. The Nets will be an elite team, but it's going to take some time. Let me amend that, I think it's going to take some time. There are some exceptions to the rule. Very few exceptions.

        1. As I just said below, when I add your suffering to the delusions of grandeur that Shamira mentioned as part of Knick fandom I get a recipe for bandwagon switching. Unless you're all masochists…which could be true.

  4. This… This is a tough one.

    AS a die hard homegrown NYK fan, I know all about the clowning on my team (my bro is a Lakers Stan), stupid contracts (Allan Houston anyone?) and heartbreak.

    But this abusive relationship has me itching, and now that MY city, Brooklyn, is getting their own team and it's looking like a good one in the foreseeable future, I don't feel as bad saying I'm supporting the "home" team. Technically they were the NY Nets at one point so I welcome with open arms.

    Either way, that Knicks-Nets home-opener is going to be CRAZY.

  5. I'm a New Yorker but I don't rep Brooklyn, so my loyalty will always be first and foremost with the Knicks – even though they break my heart on a regular basis. That said, I'm not mad at the Brooklyn Nets for trying to do their own thing, and hope they get their own level of respect – it's good for the city overall, anyways. But if it came down to a Knicks-Nets game , I'm rocking with the crew out of MSG. I understand that Brooklynites may feel differently, but a lot of the older peeps from BK i know have said similarly, that they can rock with the Nets and will root for them to do well, but the Knicks will always be numero uno.

    That said, if the Knicks only win one playoff game again….I might tear my hair out.

    Finally, with regards to our PG situation, I'm not totally disenchanted by Raymond Felton. I believe that he can step up and get back in shape before the start of the season and be the distributing PG that New York needs – effectively dishing out the ball and giving Melo the iso situations that he wants. I respect this choice a lot more than keeping Lin at wayyy above his talent value. Also, we forget that a LOT of dudes were out of shape at the beginning of last season what with the lockout ending abruptly. And Kidd was never intended to be a starter anyways – I think he was intended to be a mentor to Lin, which obviously isn't happening now, but I think Woodson will find an effective way to integrate him into our offensive scheme.

    1. I was nodding while reading the first paragraph like 'seems totally reasonable.' Then I think…she will absolutely be tearing her hair out by next April, lol.

      That's really what made me write the post. How long before you're out of hair and just start rooting for BK. If they're the better team, and you're bald, it seems like your life would just be easier at a certain point.

      I think you're veeeeeery optimistic about Felton. He's not the worst option, but he's closer than Lin is. I just don't see what he adds. Passing to Melo and getting out the way isn't a negative, but it's def not a positive either. Especially if (when?) the other team's PG is killing him defensively.

      1. Being a Knicks fan means ascribing to some delusion of grandeur. So, every season I have to tell myself that we can make it to the second round….lol.

        " If they're the better team, and you're bald, it seems like your life would just be easier at a certain point. " –> I just died at this!! So wrong…lol but I feel you.

        1. To combine your point with Dr. J's above, part of being a Knick fan is suffering and some delusion of grandeur. That sounds awful, lol.

          I really think there will be a noticable amount of crossover if the Nets trend up and the Knicks tread water.

  6. Knicks will be good and the Nets should be competitive. Obviously the true Knick fans won't change teams for anything/anyone. The casual ones will still root for the Knicks, but depending on the hype around the Nets and how well they do will start rooting for them as well *at the same da*n time!* lol.

    Eh, nothing wrong with that….I expect as much from the casual/ player fan. It is what it is.

  7. Knicks fans will be Knicks fans forever. Cubs fans are still Cubs fans even though the White Sox won. Boston is still a Red Sox town even though every other sport for the city was winning championships and they were not only having a World Series drought but were waiting decades in between. When you look at just raw championships, it seems worse than it actually is. The Knicks have still be in and out of the playoffs and were in the finals not TOO far back so the fans at least have been seeing a competitive team.

    It's not like the Lions who were briefly kinda competitive with Barry in the 90s and have never really done anything else since the merger.

    1. It was all good until you brought up my beloved Lions. We have Mr. 5000 (aka Matt Stafford) and Megatron now…hopefully the Madden curse doesn't get him. There are better days ahead in Ford Field!

      Would help if Aaron Rodgers loses a kneecap between now and the preseason though.

      1. "Would help if Aaron Rodgers loses a kneecap between now and the preseason though."

        Don't you jinx my quarterback!

  8. Linsanity pretty much ended the MSG/TW beef right? If it wasn't for that, most of us probably would've only seen the Knicks on ESPN/ABC before the playoffs. Do I think he's worth that back-end loaded deal? No, but give him a full 82 game season and he'd be easily tradeable next year. So that's how I look at the luxury tax situation.

    It's hard to watch the Nets stack their roster up with pretty good talent and see Dolan reach back nearly 2 decades for marginal contributors. If Kidd can get his head right, I think we'll still be in good position to be a 5/6 seed, maybe 4 if George Hill doesn't live up to his contract situation in Indiana.

    My fandom just won't allow me to root for the Nets, even if they do finish higher in the power rankings.

  9. You know… for such an "irrelevant" franchise, you damn sure write about them a lot, lol….

    BK people who are former knicks fams or who root for other teams wil root for the nets. Fake knicks fans and fairweather fans will root for the flavour of the month. The die hards will remain.

    Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Knicks. Thats the teams that will be #1 in the city. All the secondary teams can hope for is flourishing on their own accord.

    I wont root against BK bec they rep NYC, but my fandom remains.
    My recent post #BeTheBetter Fitness Log: Entry 7

    1. Aw come on! I said they AREN’T irrelevant.

      The team intrigues me because they have the most loyal fans yet seem to antagonize them to no end, lol. They are like the NBA-Cubs. Always an interesting angle.

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