In speaking with reporters at a Nike House of Hoops event in Brooklyn this weekend, Deron Williams talked about the budding rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.
“When the reporters are asking us, ‘Is it a big deal?’, I think we all kind of shrug it off,” he said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “But you can tell, the energy from those four games this season were probably more intense than any other four games we played in.”
Williams also admitted that both teams celebrated differently after a win against their cross-town rival. “Even when we won or when the Knicks won, the way they celebrated wasn’t how you would celebrate after a normal win. It definitely means much more. It’s not really a rivalry yet, but I think it’s forming, and as we get better and as the Knicks get better, I think it’ll be a rivalry for years to come.”
In a disappointment to all New York basketball fans, the Knicks-Nets series ended in late January last season (with a Nets victory and a 2-2 season series split) and thus we were unable to witness a matchup at a time when both teams were struggling for Eastern Conference playoff seeding late in the season.
Williams also talked about his excitement that friend and idol Jason Kidd was hired as his new head coach:
“I’m from Dallas and Jason Kidd got drafted to the Dallas Mavericks. He was my favorite player growing up,” he said. “I had a chance to play against my favorite player, play with him on the Olympic team and win a gold medal, and now I get a chance to be coached by him.
“So it’s going to be a great experience for me to get to learn from him and to develop under him. I think it’s going to be great for our team as well. We can kind of grow together. I think all of us are a little upset with how the loss to the Bulls went, and we look forward to getting back out on the court already.”
Finally, Williams gives Nets fans a reason to look forward to next season (not that they were deprived of any):
“I’m motivated anyways, just because of how last season went,” he said. “It was a frustrating season for me because I had to deal with a lot of injuries, and it took me awhile to get right and get healthy. So I’m just looking forward to this season.”
ESPN New York — D-Will: Nets-Knicks rivalry ‘forming’