The New York Knicks are one of the iconic brands of the NBA. The Knicks are the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, Willis Reed coming out of the tunnel, Bernard King getting buckets, Walt Frazier, Patrick Ewing, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, and so much more.
But if you’re a 20-year-old player entering the NBA, what do you know of the Knicks? They have made the playoffs just three times in the last 15 years (making it out of the first round once), and the owner is a guy players do not speak highly of, one who has fans banned from the building.
Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant did a live interview Tuesday on Hot 97 in New York and had this to say about the Knicks.
“I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players in their lifetime don’t remember the Knicks being good,” Durant said … “I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks is not as cool as let’s say the Golden State Warriors, or even the Lakers or the Nets now.
“You know what I’m saying; the cool thing now is not the Knicks.”
Young athletes — much like your teenager at home — are often unaware of history, they know what they hear from other players and how a team has done in recent years. Neither of those are Knicks strong points.
There were expectations heading into last summer that the Knicks might land Durant and Kyrie Irving, but instead both went to Brooklyn. Durant said in the interview he didn’t really even seriously consider the Knicks.
Does all that make the Nets the cool new thing in New York? While Brooklyn’s ticket demand is up it still trails New York in overall demand right now, but will that change as the Nets are poised to be contenders (once Durant gets healthy after his Achilles tear), while the Knicks still have a lot of work to do on their rebuilding process?
New York will always be a Knicks town on some level (the way Los Angeles will always be a Lakers town), but the market is big enough for two teams. And if one of those teams is much better run and a contender, you can guess where the eyeballs will gravitate.