Who should we be hating the most?
by Darwin Kastle
Not all enemies are created equal. Some teams make the Knicks and their fans get juiced up more than others. This list gives equal weight to historical enmity and to recent developments, since rivalries mean more when it involves the current cast of characters. I could have been like everyone else and made a "Top Ten" list, but seven is my favorite number (though Steve Novak is giving the number three a run at this coveted title) and even as a devoted Knicks fan I couldn’t find sufficient hatred for more than these seven teams.
7. Philadelphia 76ers- Perhaps the biggest reason this team sneaked onto this list is because they’re in the Atlantic Division along with the Knicks. There is some history though, thanks in part to the Allen Iverson led Sixers and the general sports dislike between the two cities. More recently, the Sixers out-dueled our heroes for the all-important 8th seed (Yay! We don’t have to play the Heat) last year and we saw what happened there with the Knicks getting stepped on by LeBron on his way to the Championship and the SIxers getting to wallow in what should have been the Knicks glory of taking out the top-seeded Bulls. If that wasn’t bad enough, the SIxers ruined Raymond Felton’s recent glorious return to the Knicks’ line-up with a 97-80 beating that I certainly won’t be forgetting or forgiving anytime soon…
6. Houston Rockets- Sure these teams usually only play twice a year, but most Knicks’ fans have a special dark place in their hearts for these outer space machines from the lone star state. First of all, no true Knicks’ fan has forgotten the pain of watching John Starks launch hopeless jumper after hopeless jumper against the Rockets during the Knicks’ most recent trip to the NBA Finals. Hakeem the Dream had his way with Starks, Ewing and the rest of our heroes and no sir, we did not like it! Just as the pain of those memories were starting to fade, those damn space contraptions pulled off another travesty this off-season by stealing Jeremy L... (I can’t even finish his name, it hurts too much) from us though their nefarious offering of more money (I mean really, who does that?). Of course Houston proceeded to twist the knife further this season by assuming the role of NY Kryptonite and thrashing us twice. I want to believe the Knicks were just being nice to their old comrade in arms, but that doesn’t make me loath the Rockets any less.
5. Chicago Bulls- As a fan of basketball I was a fan of Michael Jordan, but when his Airness visited the Garden, he was public enemy number one and he frequently left broken hearts in his wake. This crew of male cows has plenty of recent crimes on their rap sheet as well. Just look at the outcomes of our games with them over the last two seasons:
Feb 2 Lost by 3
March 12 Lost by 5
April 8 Won by 1
April 10 Lost by 12
Dec 8 Lost by 8
Dec 21 Lost by 4
Jan 11 Lost by 7
They don’t even have the decency to lose to us while Derrick Rose is rehabbing. I almost want him back, because it sure can’t get much worse.
4. Indiana Pacers- If you’re like most Knicks’ fanatics, you have a special loathing for Reggie Miller and any team that’s been coached and managed by a certain Celtics’ legend. (I hate the Celtics so much that they can get other teams onto the list by association!) It doesn’t help that the Pacers have been a serious contender in the East right when the Knicks are finally starting to get their shit together. Our recent five point loss to them certainly didn’t help their standing on this list either.
3. Brooklyn Nets- Unlike other teams on this list, this ranking also takes into account the future (cue strobe lights and weird music). Sure it hurt when J-Kidd played for the Nets and they were better than us, but this rivalry didn’t really get serious until they had the gall to move into our territory and try to steal some of our fans and our NYC glory. Now shit gets real Kidd. If we didn’t have enough evidence that the Nets (whatsa matter, couldn’t find a lamer name then Nets? Really? At least our name, er… never mind) wanted to take our things, they’ve won two out of four hotly contested games with us this season and they’re breathing down our necks in the standings. One can only imagine how heated this rivalry will get after they’ve become established in NYC for a while.
2. Miami Heat- It may come as a little surprise to see an expansion team reach these lofty heights on this hallowed list, but a true Knicks’ fan shares my hatred for this, this… temperature? The Heat and our boys had plenty of rousing playoff jousts before Dwayne Wade came along, but ever since he arrived they’ve made us feel hopelessly inferior, whether is was winning a championship with Shaq (I hear trophies are just a way to hide insecurity…) or more recently using us to wipe their feet off in the first round on their way to a championship with LeBron. Oh yeah, then there’s the little matter of stealing King James from us. I was under the impression that NYC sports teams were allowed to have any free agents they wanted due to the giant money trees we grow here, what gives?
1. Boston Celtics- As I type this, I keep locking up due to uncontrolled rage and loathing inspired by this team. I grew up in a part of Connecticut that only showed Celtics’ games (this was well before the internet, sigh). This directly led to me becoming a Knicks’ fan, as I was forced to watch the ugliest basketball team in history (seriously, have you seen Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge? and those uniforms… don’t even get me started!) win night after night. Fortunately for me, Rick Pitino came along to coach the Knicks in 1987 and gave me a team I could really cheer for and I never looked back. These two teams have had countless memorable games over the years and recent years have done nothing to lessen the passions aroused by this match up. Thanks to the Yanks and Sox, New Yorkers and New Englanders are already conditioned to hate each other’s sports teams, but players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been able to evince special hatred from Knicks’ fans. Kevin Garnett’s recent dust up with Carmelo Anthony where he allegedly made remarks unbecoming of even a member of this hated franchise has only further fanned the flames. The Knicks recent win in Boston and our inappropriate excitement about beating an under-500 team only served to highlight the fact that we hadn’t won in Boston for over six years. The important thing is that we did win of course, which allows me to end this list of loathing on an upbeat note. Now get back to hating every team that isn’t the Knicks…