In the National Basketball Association, commonly known as NBA, each team is named after the place it first originated. It is interesting to learn the background of every team in the league, since they also have historical meanings behind their name. In this article, we are going to look into one of the NBA teams’ history: the New York Knicks.
What is New York Knicks?
If you are a fan of basketball, particularly NBA, you might already know the New York Knicks. Also known as the New York Knickerbockers, this is an American professional basketball team located in New York City. We can find its home court in the Madison Square Garden, wherein it shares the arena with the New York Rangers of the NHL. Interestingly, there are two NBA teams located in New York: one is the New York Knicks, and the other team is the Brooklyn Nets.
The New York Knicks is still an active NBA team until today. Its team colors consist of blue, orange, silver, black, and white.
History of New York Knicks
We can trace back the history of the New York Knicks to 1964 in New York City. Like any other basketball team, the New York Knicks started as an idea by Max Kase, aiming to start his own basketball league. Kase met Walter A. Brown, who was the owner of Boston Garden, and he proposed his idea to Brown. Brown was fascinated with the idea and held a meeting with other arena owners to discuss the proposal of Max Kase.
Included in the meeting was the president of Madison Square Garden: Ned Irish. During that time, he was also a college basketball promoter and retired sportswriter. Because of his resources, Kase initially approached him to lease the Garden. However, his lack of assets did not impress the panel of owners, which led to awarding the franchise to Ned Irish.
Now that Irish already has his hands over the franchise, he thought of a name that would fit the team perfectly. He was thinking of a name that would best resemble the history of New York. A staff meeting was then held to brainstorm ideas for the franchise’s name, wherein they casted their votes in a hat. The tally ended up well, which gave birth to the name the Knickerbockers; it was derived from the pseudonym in the book A History of New York by Washington Irving.
Irish was already satisfied with the name, the next thing he needed was a head coach. In May 1946, he approached John Lapchick, who was a coach of St. John University. Lapchick was then offered the position and promised to make him the highest-paid coach in the league. He accepted the offer but requested to finish one more season in St. John’s University.
On November 1, 1946 – just months after assembling the team, the Knicks went to their first game. Interestingly, it was also the first game in the history of the league. During this season, the Knicks was coached by Neil Cohalan, who was a former coach in Manhattan College. With Lapchick out for the first year, Cohalan took charge in coaching the team for one season.
Their first game ended with both teams in tension; the Knicks won over the Huskies with a score of 68-66. However, the rest of the season didn’t end up well with the Knicks as they were defeated by the Philadelphia Warriors in the semifinals. After a year, Lapchick took over in coaching the team, which led to more promising outcomes in the following seasons.
Despite having Lapchick as their head coach, the team hasn’t managed to reach the championship ever since its first game. They were considered as one of the low-ranking teams in the league, but they gradually recovered from their bad standing after the future hall of famer, Willis Reed, was drafted into the Knicks.
During the late 1960s, the New York Knicks had their consistent appearance in the postseason under the supervision of their coach Red Holzman. The early 1970s became the golden age for the New York Knicks as they managed to win their first NBA championship in 1970. Moreover, the team managed to be victorious again in the 1973 NBA Finals against their rival: the Lakers.