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Team Spotlight: New York Knicks

Posted on June 05 2019

Based in Manhattan, the New York Knicks are members of the National Basketball Association‘s Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference. Home games are played at Madison Square Garden, which they share with the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Officially known as the Knickerbockers, they are one of two NBA teams in the area; the Brooklyn Nets also play nearby. The New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics are the only two NBA teams that still play in their city of origin.

The Knickerbockers have certainly had their ups and downs over the past 70+ years, but what else do you know about them? Read on to learn more.

Their Beginnings

Founded by Ned Irish in 1946, the Knicks were one of the first teams in the BAA (Basketball Association of America), which, after merging with the NBL (National Basketball League) in 1949, became the NBA (National Basketball Association). From 1946 to 1956, the Knicks played well and were often in the playoffs under their first head coach, Joe Lapchick. When he resigned in 1956, the team began a ten-year downward spiral.

From the late 60s through the 70s, with Red Holzman as head coach, the New York Knicks regained their dominance in the league. The team won championships in 1970 and 1973 and were in the playoffs six times in the 80s with mixed success.

The Knicks of the 1990s were led by center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they played tough defense with head coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Pat Riley. However, since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their previous success. They won their division title in 2012–13, led by forwards Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but have failed to make the playoffs since then.

The Name Origins

Prior to the first season, Mr. Irish called his staff together to discuss team names. Irish wanted a distinct name that was representative of New York. They threw their suggestions in a hat and the team became the Knickerbockers. The name came from Washington Irving’s book “A History of New York”, which referred to the offspring of the original Dutch settlers in what later became New York City.

Breaking Barriers

When Lapchick took over in 1947, he brought his up-tempo coaching style and his open-mindedness. New individuals were signed and Wataru Misaka, (Japanese American guard) the first non-white professional basketball player, was among them. Then, in 1950, the Knicks made history again by becoming the first professional basketball team to sign an African American player. They signed Sweetwater Clifton three years after Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team.

The Changing Logo

The first logo was the character "Father Knickerbocker" bouncing a basketball, in iconic orange and blue. Then, in 1964, a logo was introduced that would last for three decades: the word 'Knicks' superimposed over a brown basketball and was known as the “Classic Roundball Logo”. Minor color changes happened throughout its lifespans such as an orange basketball and maroon lettering.

Today, the New York Knicks’ logo is presently the 'Roundball Logo', with the team name in a futuristic font layered over a basketball, with a silver triangle.

Fans

People who love the Knicks argue over who is their best player of all time. Is it Patrick Ewing? Or Isiah Thomas? What about Walt Frazier or Carmelo Anthony? Don’t forget about Bill Bradley and Jason Kidd.

It doesn’t matter which player is your favorite. If you’re a Knicks fan, you need to show it. Shop at Hat Heaven - whether it’s basketball, baseball, pro, or college, we have what you’re looking for.

Hat Heaven has been in the South Bronx for more than 30 years. Now with our webstore, we offer the same products to customers around the globe. Check out our inventory today and find a cap of your favorite team!

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