In a must-read article for anyone who’s excited about the Nets move to Brooklyn next year (I can’t believe I can write next year now and not be considered a crazy person), the Associated Press talks about the brewing Nets-Knicks rivalry once both teams occupy New York City.
Fans of the two teams taunted one another last year with in-your-face billboards near each other’s arenas. And on Thursday, Knicks star Amare Stoudemire helped New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dedicate a basketball court just blocks from the Nets’ future Brooklyn home.
Nets boosters are already tapping into Dodgers nostalgia — and Knicks fans are responding with dismissiveness.
Dismissiveness indeed. Check out this statement from the Knicks:
“While we always respect any competition, the Garden will always be the Garden,” said Barry Watkins, a spokesman for the Knicks and their home, Madison Square Garden. “Madison Square Garden is located in the heart of New York City, sitting on top of the busiest transportation hub in the nation. The Garden hosts over 400 events annually and has been a destination for New Yorkers and visitors to the city for over 130 years.”
What does that even mean? The Garden is the Garden? The one Knicks people talk about the Garden, you would think the building came to life every night to teach Ebenezer Scrooge about the meaning of basketball. Meanwhile, the Knicks haven’t played a significant game at the Garden in more than 10 years, and have just as many NBA Finals appearances in my lifetime as the Nets. And who can forget what happened way back in 2004 when Stephon Marbury came to NY and the “Graden was Back” and all that and the Nets beat them like a government mule during the Playoffs. There was so much crying coming from the Knicks players and fans, I thought the local Y was going to start running a weekly support group.
But fear not, those that understand that the aura of Brooklyn may actually have significance approaching that of “The Garden” will smile at what Brooklyn resident and writer Michael Shapiro says:
“It’s going to be really hard for me to root against a Brooklyn team,” he said. “Call me in two years.”