As the Nets make the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, the NBA’s Atlantic Division just gave the Knicks a new sort of rival. Having a team across the river is one thing, but within a neighboring borough? That’s a whole new monster.
Simply put, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets are currently in a position to become one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Sure, the Knicks have similar relationships with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, but those rivalries were at least built up.
This one, on the other hand, has a lot more riding on it than wins and losses—and if you ask me, it has the potential to become the greatest in Knicks’ history. Here’s why.
photo courtesy of thefoxisblack.com
In their relocation, the Nets could have easily become just another New York team a la the Mets, Islanders, etc. Instead, team management chose to take a different route.
By solely choosing to represent Brooklyn, the Nets immediately have a pocket of fans to call their own. If they succeed, they could very well win over fans in neighboring Queens.
Long story short: The team’s name alone is set up to take away fans from the Knicks. Throw in the fancy new Barclays Arena, and you have genius marketing.
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Now that there is a rival in a city they have run for decades, the Knicks need to do all they can to keep their fans from defecting to the Nets’ side. Given the team’s history over the past 10 years, this is a definite possibility.
Still, a little city rivalry could be a good thing for both franchises. Ticket sales will go through the roof as fans of both teams will flock to either Barclays Arena or Madison Square Garden to watch both squads square off in what is sure to become a classic divisional rivalry.
Think of it as the NBA’s version of the Subway Series.
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The four-team deal that also involves the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, if approved, would give the Nets just the star power they need to pair with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as they begin their inaugural season in Brooklyn.
Just as Miami did with their Big Three, the once-lowly nets would be immediate contenders if this trade was pulled off. Jersey sales would immediately skyrocket if Howard managed to land with the team.
And speaking of Big Threes…
The Big Three in Brooklyn
I don’t know what it is, but ever since LeBron James joined the Miami Heat, teams have become obsessed with the idea of having a Big Three.
The Celtics originated the practice when they traded for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett—who they paired with Paul Pierce—and the Miami Heat followed suit some years later when they were able to bring in Chris Bosh, LeBron James and also re-sign Dwyane Wade.
Should the Howard trade work out, the Nets will have a dominant center to pair with All-Star scorer Joe Johnson and star point guard Deron Williams. That’s a pretty solid trio.
Seeing as how the Knicks have a Big Three of their own in Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, this could make for an interesting matchup of triumvirates when they face off against Brooklyn—should Howard be traded there, of course.
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Not only is he a great rapper and entrepreneur, but Brooklyn native Jay-Z is also a part owner of the Nets. In fact, he was instrumental in moving them to Brooklyn.
That said—especially with the team’s inaugural season in the borough coming up—I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he dropped a track or two to help plug the team and help fuel the rivalry with the Knicks.
Some New Yorkers may call him a traitor for turning his back on the original New York team, but not me. Though I will never root for the Nets, I can’t deny that Jay-Z is a genius for helping move them there. He could take this rivalry even more seriously than the players, which could make for some interesting trash talk between him and Spike Lee.
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