It’s a question that has been asked about the Nets and the Knicks since the former became a part of the NBA in 1976. Their close proximity notwithstanding, their relationship has never been thought of as a hot rivalry because the Nets were always considered an afterthought.
However, there have been some stretches of prosperity for the Nets, including the Jason Kidd era, the Chuck Daly years and the Larry Brown-Stan Albeck years. Believe it or not, the Nets have held their own in this “rivalry.” In their 36-year NBA history, the Nets are 82-85 versus the Knicks. The franchises are an even 5-5 in the playoffs, with the Nets sweeping their big brother 4-0 in 2004.
Under normal circumstances, those numbers would seem perfectly respectable. Unfortunately for the Nets, that hasn’t been the case. Outside of two straight trips to the Finals during the Kidd years, the Nets never meant anything to serious NBA fans. Even during the Kidd years, the Nets had difficulty selling out the Meadowlands.
All of that changed when the franchise broke ground on its new arena in downtown Brooklyn. Moving into a brand-new arena in one of the country’s most famous urban areas has all of a sudden made the Nets a household name. Trading and signing Joe Johnson from Atlanta and resigning Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries has also added a little flare to things. The Knicks, armed with a full training camp and the addition of Raymond Felton makes them just as much of a contender as the Nets.
All of this was written to say that the battle for New York is officially underway and the NBA has done its part to make sure everyone knows it. The Nets will host the Knicks on Thursday, Nov. 1 in the season opener for both teams.
How’s that for a rivalry?