Friday, March 2, 2012

Knicks Make Great Underdog Even with Dull Nickname

The Knicks deserve to be rooted for.  They haven't won a title in more than 35 years and their last two times in the Finals were respectable efforts with heartbreaking results.

They are New York City's team, which means they are America's team.  The 9/11 aftermath made New York City teams America's teams for a long time.

Also, they have cool history from the 70's through the 90's.
The 70's Knicks brought great basketball teams, including two championships in 1970 and '73.  They were known for flashy fashion statements from Walt Frazier, unorthodox players making an impact-like Dave Debusschere and Bill Bradley, and Willis Reed coming in hurt late to rally his team in the Finals.

Throughout the 80's, they played the doormat to their Eastern neighbors, the Boston Celtics, who continued to add hardware to their legend.

In the 90's, the Knicks led by Patrick Ewing were bold, brash, in your face, unbelievable on and off court action-packed, never knowing what to expect next.  Ewing's teammates gained more notoriety for fights, technicals, comebacks, personality and rivalries (with the Heat, Bulls and Pacers).  Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson, John  Starks and others always gave fans their money's worth.

The 90's Knicks got stung twice, once losing the seventh game to the Houston Rockets and their starpower led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and the other time as an eigth seed running into the San Antonio Spurs and their dynamic duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson.  The San Antonio series was anti-climactic as Ewing was out due to injury.

In 2012, 13 seasons removed from their last appearance as an NBA finalist, they have the greatest underdog story in recent pro sports history. 

Jeremy Lin has captivated the nation and turned casual and fervent fans of all areas towards rooting for the New York Knicks. 

Madison Square Garden's history, location and its reputation as basketball's 'Mecca' adds to the rooting barometer.  Instead of Hollywood, Broadway stars and comedians abound.

Many tourists know of it or have gone in at least once to see what all the buzz was about.  It's right there in the heart of America's most populated city.  It's hard to compare the energy in MSG with any other arena when their team is firing on all cylinders.  Ask anyone who was there the night of LJ's four-point play (see video above). 

The uniform colors are cool, some orange and blue, similar to the Mets, but different from the average brand.

The nickname, though, doesn't make a lot of sense.  Very few pro sports franchises can say they are named for some old white people's last name.  This is the case for the Knicks, a shortened derivation of Knickerbocker, a Dutch surname.

The combination of Linsanity, the failed recent history of the franchise and being from New York overrides any issues with a sucky nickname.  Fans are all-in on rooting for this team to beat the ego-driven Miami Heat in the playoffs and make the NBA Finals.  Fans would rather see Linning than not Linning, which means they'd also prefer Lebron get pushed harder before getting his ring.

Originally Posted 2/29/12

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