Hey, did you know that Park Slope has a professional basketball team? No, really. Perhaps the controversy over the Barclays Center interfered with an open-armed Park Slope welcome for the Brooklyn Nets. But they’re here.
For those who don’t follow the sport, last night marked the first Brooklyn meeting between the now cross-borough sort-of rivals, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. It comes at a time that seemed all but impossible a year ago, when the hapless Nets and the mediocre Knicks had to cross state lines to face each other. But following last night’s match-up, which the the Nets won in overtime, the two teams are tied for first place place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, each with a respectable 9-4 record.
For Brooklyn-based basketball fans, the situation might be a bit painful. The Manhattan-based Knicks had been pretty consistently bad for the past 40 years – ever since their last championship in the 1972-73 season. But until this month, New Yorkers didn’t have much of a choice. It was the Knicks or nothing. The Nets give sports fans an alternative.
But Brooklynites who switched over to the Nets at the beginning of this, their first Brooklyn season, must have watched with dismay as the Knicks ran up an 8-1 record in their first nine games, their best since the Middle Ages. Could it be that the Knicks are finally legit? An eighth of the way through the season might be too early to put out championship t-shirts, but the team certainly seems to be playing well.
Though the Knicks could be poised to dominate the league, only one thing stands in their way, aside from self-destruction. The Nets might just steal the Knicks’ thunder.
Could this be the beginning of a real rivalry? Stay tuned. The two teams will face each other three more times this year.