The development of a true Knicks-Nets rivalry was inevitable from the moment the Nets moved to Brooklyn. The fact that both teams have become playoff teams makes the tension even stronger. Now each team is considered a serious Eastern Conference contender.
Both Brooklyn and New York have shown that they are ready for the next step. They have both added new talent to their rosters and are ready to go all the way. But these two New York-based teams still have their own potential problems that will affect their success for the upcoming season, and instead of addressing them and trying to prepare themselves for a new season, the concern has been which is really New York’s team.
“This is a city battle. We’re going to divide that city now,” Pierce said. “Before this was the Knicks’ town, but now that I’m here we’re going to call it Nets…Nets Village. It’s going to go from Knicks Town to Nets Village. It’s our time.”
While I’m not one who at all favors trash talk, it’s understandable and something quite avoidable in sports. The problem with Pierce’s words is that they are completely unjustified. The Nets have been a New York team for only one season, so to come out and claim that the Nets are taking over is a cocky move to make, and the Knicks’ Raymond Felton let this be known.
“Paul Pierce said the Nets are gonna take over the city,” Felton said. “It’s hard for you to take over the city when we’ve got ‘New York’ on our chest and you’ve got ‘Brooklyn’ on yours. It’s been this way since long before he started playing.”
One cannot simply just take over a town just by merely saying the words. Brooklyn hasn’t done any work at all to even be considered as New York’s team. That is a title that must be earned.
Being based in New York isn’t what truly made the Knicks New York’s team. They may have been in New York since 1946, but it’s the work they did there that earned them that title.
They’re responsible for winning New York two NBA Championships, eight conference titles, and five division titles. It’s taken time, but the Knicks have earned the right to be New York’s team. Madison Square Garden is their home and an icon not just for New York City, but New York State. They represent all of New York when they wear their uniforms. All of those accomplishments are what make the Knicks New York’s true team.
This isn’t to say that Brooklyn can’t become New York’s team. It’s just going to take time. The Nets are going to have to do just what the Knicks did to earn that title. They have to play it out and fight for it. Jason Kidd needs to prove that he can indeed succeed as a head coach. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett must prove that, despite their age, they still have what it takes to be two of the best players in the NBA. Deron Williams needs to prove that he is one of the best point guards in the league and that he can lead a team to go all the way.
Brooklyn needs to learn to reach the point where they win not only for themselves, but for New York.
So until the Nets are able to do that, there’s only one thing left they can do: play basketball. No more talking trash, no more bold statements. There would be no argument if there wasn’t basketball, so just go and play it out. Knicks, continue to show why you are indeed New York’s team and how it will remain that way. Nets, play the game, and rise together; get the work done on the hardwood that will prove to not just the Knicks and New York, but the world as well, that you can and will be New York’s team.