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NBA: Only room for one king in New York

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The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets are fighting for supremacy in the Big Apple, but how important is that to the NBA? League-wide no one gives a crap, but as a resident of the Bronx it matters in this city.

The question is who owns the city now?

I must disagree with Mr. Felton on this, not because of my affiliation, but it’s pretty lopsided in the last three years. Since moving to New York from New Jersey, the Nets have been to the playoffs three of four years, while the Knicks have been just once in that time (2012). But the answer to that question really depends on how you view it.

Do you wish to look at it from a win/loss perspective, a fan base point of view, a star magnitude, or a respect case?

As for head-to-head matchups, the Nets have a slight advantage as they have won 10 out of the 16 matchups they have played. The rivals have yet to meet in the playoffs since the move due to the Knicks struggling in that department.

But the regular season games have been great for the city. This is still New York. The home of advertising, superstars, tourist attractions and deep pocket business owners. From the moment Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov took over, he meant business in his plans to make the Nets the only significant team in New York. However, Knicks owner James Dolan wasn’t about to back down from him, and both sides traded shots, causing then-commissioner David Stern to get involved and try to bring some sort of peace to the situation.

As for star power over the last four seasons, that has to go to the Nets. The Knicks were built around Carmelo Anthony (though we can’t forget about the whole Linsanity explosion), but other than those two it has been desolate at the Garden since the Nets’ arrival. But that has changed this offseason with the arrival of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis. And how can we forget the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson?

The Nets had the star power, but really have nothing to show for it other than a few more wins than the Knicks, to be honest. There was Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Brook Lozpez but out of those five only one remains as the Nets are in rebuild mode. Lopez is the lone survivor of a team that had title hopes but crashed and burned as fast as they came together. Sure, the Nets went to three straight playoffs appearances, but they have mortgaged their future in the process and now will find themselves in the same position the Knicks just dugged themselves out of.

The downfall started with the signing of Deron Williams, who never lived up to the hype. He reneged and was cut loose in 2015. Joe Johnson was mediocre since arriving, and the experiment with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was lackluster at best. But when compared to the Knicks regarding star power, the Nets had the advantage.

History is on the Knicks side when it comes to running New York, as the Nets have only been a part of this city for four years now. How can the Nets overtake the Knicks?

In all honesty, they can’t.

The history runs too deep for the Knickerbockers. Don’t believe me, walk through the city, almost everywhere except Brooklyn and you will see nothing but Knicks caps, shirts, and jackets. Despite the losing, there may not be a more loyal fan base in the NBA. The Nets have tried, but this is still the Mecca of basketball.

The Nets, even with a championship or two will never run this city. As a Nets fan, it’s hard to admit that but the truth lies in the history. A winning team is one thing, but a loyal fan base will last forever.

The Nets and Knicks both rep NY with pride, but in the end, it’s clear the Knicks run this town.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com