New York Knicks
Hailing from the heart of New York City, the New York Knicks, shortened from Knickerbockers, proudly carry two NBA championship titles (1970, 1973). Founded in 1946, they were part of the Basketball Association of America, which was later transformed into the NBA in 1949.
For the first nine seasons, impressive records were set by the Knicks. Notably, from 1951–53, they charged their way to the NBA finals thrice, albeit without a win. The tides of success ebbed as the team encountered struggles through the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Willis Reed’s Impact
1964 brought a beacon of hope. Willis Reed was drafted. Recognized as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year for 1964–65, Reed championed the team’s ticket to regular postseason slots until 1974.
Coach Red Holzman guided the team to its inaugural championship victory at the end of the 1969–70 season. This victorious season showcased the remarkable skills of Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Dave DeBusschere – all future Hall of Famers.
Emotions ran high in the finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, with Reed’s remarkable comeback in the deciding game boosting the team’s spirit to clinch their first NBA title. This Lakers-Knicks rivalry heated up, with New York capturing another championship in 1973.
Transition and The King’s Era
As age caught up with the Knicks’ star players, their grip on postseason fixtures loosened. However, the 1980s spotlighted Bernard King, one of the era’s most electrifying scorers. The team’s 1984–85 performance declined, partly due to King’s major injury. However, this downturn had a silver lining.
The NBA draft lottery enabled them to pick centre Patrick Ewing in 1985. With Ewing at the helm, the Knicks consistently made their playoff presence felt, reaching the NBA finals twice, but a championship remained elusive.
Ewing, Thomas, and New Directions
Trading Ewing in 2000 marked the start of a downward spiral. In 2003, Isiah Thomas, former Detroit Pistons All-Star guard, was appointed team president. Skyrocketing payrolls contrasted with poor standings. Controversies off the court further strained the team’s reputation.
Thomas’s tenure ended in 2008, leading to a team overhaul on both the bench and the court. This restructuring era saw the addition of Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010, followed by Carmelo Anthony in 2011.
Playoff Returns and Challenges
Post-Anthony’s recruitment, the Knicks were back in the playoff game and snagged a division title in the 2012–13 season. However, this success was fleeting.
Aiming for a reset, Phil Jackson, a former Knick, was onboarded as team president during the rocky 2013–14 season. Anthony’s injury during the 2014–15 season added to the turmoil, with the Knicks recording their worst season (17–65).
Efforts to revive the team saw Anthony being traded ahead of the 2017–18 season. But the challenges persisted, as evidenced by the team’s dismal 17-win performance in the 2018–19 season, making it the season with the lowest wins in the NBA.
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