There is a Renaissance underway in New York. After defeating the Toronto Raptors last Tuesday, the Knicks (34-28) came off a nine-game win streak before falling to Phoenix Monday. Currently ranked 4th in the East, it feels like 1999 in the big apple. Led by All-Star forward Julius Randle, the Knicks are looking to lock in their spot in the postseason.
This is a team that NBA fans are very excited about. Knicks fans and NBA fans alike seem to have a soft spot for this New York basketball club. Although some may think this sudden rise of ‘Knicks fever’ is because they have been an underperforming team for so long, this subconscious affinity for the Knicks goes deeper than that.
The team’s rich history and untouched culture bring feelings of nostalgia and affection to fans. Their unique name and classic uniforms bring out nostalgia and excitement in fans.
There is certainly a lot to be excited about in New York, and the NBA hits the jackpot when this club is performing at an elite level:
Team of the 70’s
The New York Knicks have been a staple of the NBA since the 1940s. One of two teams that have never moved from its’ original city, the Knicks have the biggest market in the league by far.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the Knickerbockers were a force. Known as “the team of the ’70s,” the Knicks were box-office. Led by hall of fame, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, this Knicks squad won the franchise’s only two championships in 1970 and 1973.
90’s Knicks-Bulls Rivalry
If it wasn’t for the GOAT in Chicago, the Knicks would have won at least 1 title in the ’90s. John Starks, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Oakley are a few notable names from this era. Their rivalry with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was electric. This team played a physical brand of basketball and was a dominant force in the era.
LA and NY
NBA fans have heard nothing but Los Angeles as the biggest basketball city in the nation. That is no longer the case. Now that the Knicks are rolling, the league has a city in the east and west with two great teams. These two cities just so happen to be the two biggest cities in our country.
Having New York and LA be powerhouse basketball cities will increase fan engagement and interest. It creates a storyline and rivalry that is interesting to the modern fan. Fans of other teams are beginning to ‘adopt’ one of these four teams to their fanbase.
The New York Knicks have the largest market in the NBA by far. The Knicks are currently valued at $5B as of February 2021. When the biggest market team is in contention for a title, fan engagement and revenue for the league will only go up.
The Knicks play in “the world’s most famous arena.” Madison Square Garden is often touted by players as their favorite place to play. Michael Jordan said in The Last Dance that MSG was his all-time favorite arena to play in. Located in downtown Manhattan, MSG is a great fan experience and in a location for New Yorkers to attend games.
Fan engagement is huge for the league. During the Knicks seemingly endless slump, fans became less engaged. This means they are not buying tickets, jerseys, or promoting the league in any way. Now that the team is a dominant force in the league, all of these revenue-earning factors are returning to the league’s biggest fanbase.