Since the merger of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976, an acrimonious rivalry between the franchises Nets and Knicks, both located in New York then, developed.
Animosity began when the Manhattan-based Knicks argued that the New York Nets “encroached” on their territory, forcing the latter to pay an encroachment fee of $4.8 million and play across the Hudson River in New Jersey. The Nets had to sell the rights to the face of the franchise, superstar Julius Erving, to meet the financial obligations. Without the great Dr. J playing for the team, the Nets suffered mediocrity for many years.
Unfortunately, the rivalry never really blossomed into something more memorable. The two teams met just three times in the playoffs, when the games really mattered.
After the Nets moved to the state of New York in Brooklyn last 2012, many thought that the rivalry would be taken up a notch. Especially so when the Nets’ new owner, Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov started to talk trash to the Knicks, such that then NBA commissioner David Stern had to mediate to lessen the tension between the owners.
However, the teams’ relative lack of success in the past four years had still not made the clash for New York supremacy, dubbed as “Battle of the Boroughs” by media outlets, much more exciting.
The past offseason though had fans optimistic as the franchises seemed to take a step to the right direction in improving their roster and team personnel.
Bennett J. Kireker here, an active supporter of New York-based sports teams, even if I had already moved to California, where I practice my profession as an agricultural equipment salesman. Learn more about what I do by visiting this Pinterest page.