Former New Jersey Nets great Drazen Petrovic passed 20 years ago today, on June 7, 1993. In 2010, ESPN's 30 for 30 productions made "Once Brothers," an 80-minute documentary chronicling the relationship between the Serbian Vlade Divac and the Croatian Drazen Petrovic on the Yugoslavian national team, in the NBA, and the conflict that arose between the two as a result of war-torn Yugoslavia. The two never reconciled their differences before Petrovic's death.
The amusing, yet hardly unexpected chorus of excuses and capitulations from Knicks fans the day after Round 1 of the “Battle of the Boroughs” went to the bums from Brooklyn – “it was just one game.” “The Knicks were missing Stat, Shump and Kidd.” “The Nets haven’t played anyone good yet” – do not upset me. For last night was something I was hoping to relish for a greater portion of my lifetime. Last night was personal.
As a kid growing up on Long Island in the shadow of Manhattan (and on the same land mass as Brooklyn), being a Nets fan was not a birthright. It was not hereditary. It was a choice. It was a choice I made in the summer of 1992-93 partly out of circumstance (my family was a Mets household and thus subscribed to Sports Channel, where the New Jersey Nets could be seen, and not MSG, where the Yankees and Knicks called home) but also, predominantly out of my affinity for the team’s players. The early 90s Knicks were clearly the better team, but featured a tired group of players and names who had been around the block – Ewing, Oakley, Smith and Riley. Sure, I guess John Starks had the potential to be a blue collar hero, but he always struck me as too erratic and crass for me to become a true believer. The Nets meanwhile presented a roster of youth and potential. Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson should have been great. And of course the Nets had the greatest underdog star I could ever hope to find in an era where Michael Jordan was at the top of his game.... MORE →
In whatever superlative you'd like to assign it -- the Battle for New York, Battle of the Boroughs, the Nets' arrival on the New York stage, or just another game -- the ex-New Jersey/now Brooklyn Nets take on the New York Knicks tonight, in Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This game has added meaning like few Nets-Knicks games have had before, but these two have had an up-and-down rivalry since the Nets joined the NBA in 1976.
Let's take a look through the history of the Nets-Knicks rivalry: from its origin, through the decades and playoff matchups, through the players that have seen both sides, and finally to today: the "Blueprint for Greatness" era.
The origin story
The 1980s: Waves of excellence in a sea of obscurity
1983: The first playoff battle ends in defeat
The 90s: what could have been
Playoffs: '94's and Heartbreak
The Nets take center stage
Nets sweep at last
The Blueprint for Greatness
The origin story
... MORE →