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The New York Knickerbockers, commonly known as the New York Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in Manhattan, New York. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team shares a home with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Along with the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city.  

History of the New York Knicks

In the late 1940s, college basketball was a growing sport in the New York area. While hockey was another popular sport, arenas were not often used. Madison Square Garden President Ned Irish teamed up with a group of 17 others at the Commodore Hotel in New York City to form the Basketball Association of America. You could say that New York was the birthplace of not just the Knicks, but all of basketball as well. 

Early Years: Unveiling The Knickerbocker Franchise

Originally, former sportswriter Max Kase was going to run the organization, but it was Irish that convinced the panel of owners that he had more resources. Once Kase relented and the franchise was rewarded to Irish, he wanted a distinct name for the franchise that represented the city of New York. 

He called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes into a hat. By the end of the vote, the name “Knickerbocker” was the highest vote winner. The term “Knickerbocker” comes from the pseudonym used by author Washington Irving. In his book A History of New York, the word applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what later became known as New York. In the year 1946, the Irish approached St. John’s University basketball coach Joe Lapchick becoming the first coach in history, but he wanted to remain one more season. Instead, Irish hired former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan. 

Ups & Downs of the Knicks

It took about 15 years before the team became a relevant franchise. In 1960, Red Holzman became the coach of the Knicks and guided the franchise to their only two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. The 1980s featured mixed success, which included six playoff appearances, but zero trips to the NBA Finals. 

In the 1990s, the Knicks had a once in a lifetime player in future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. The 90s were marked with intense rivalries with the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, but specifically the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. During this time, Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy helped lead the team to appearances in the 1994 and 1999 NBA Finals but were unable to win the title. 

Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to live up to their glory days. The Knicks have won just one division title (2012-2013) since that time. Led by a core of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks made it as far as the Eastern Conference semifinals that season, and have failed to make the playoffs since. 

Everything To Know About Knicks

Down below features all of your need to know information about the New York Knicks. 

NY Knicks History

The Knicks play in the Eastern Conference and participate in the Atlantic Division. The team was founded in 1946. Their home arena is Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The team’s colors are blue, orange, silver, black, and white. 

New York Knicks Franchise Management 

The team president is Leon Rose, while the General Manager is Scott Perry. The main sponsor is Squarespace. Madison Square Garden Sports serves as the owner, where James Dolan serves as the Executive Chairman. The team’s G-League affiliation is the Westchester Knicks. Tom Thibodeau serves as the head coach. 

Championships

Playoff Appearances: 1947, 1948, 1959, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013

Atlantic Division Titles: 1953, 1954, 1970, 1971, 1989, 1993, 1994, 2013

Eastern Conference Titles: 1972, 1973, 1994, 1999

NBA Championships

It’s been quite some time since the NY Knicks have won an NBA title, but the team was fortunate to win two back in the early 1970s. The franchise had two bids during the 1990s but was unable to cash in.

YearOpponentSeriesCoachSeries MVP
1970Los Angeles Lakers4-3Red HolzmanWillis Reed
1973Los Angeles Lakers4-1Red HolzmanWillis Reed

In 1970, Dave DeBusschere made a shot with three seconds left to give New York a 102-100 edge; however Jerry West launched a miracle into the basket that sent the game to overtime. In the end, New York squeaked out a 111-108 win. The series went to seven games. NBA Finals MVP Willis Reed played through a severe thigh injury, a torn muscle that kept him out of Game 6, and scored the first two field goals of Game 7. From there, Walt “Clyde” Frazier took over and finished with 36 points and 19 assists. 

In 1973, New York lost the opener but rattled off four consecutive victories to claim the NBA title. Reed reclaimed the NBA Finals MVP award after averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. Since then, the 1999 season is the closest that the Knicks have reached to claiming another NBA championship. 

Retired Numbers

The Knicks have retired nine numbers in their franchise including all of the following: 

  • Walt “Clyde” Frazier Jr. (10)
  • Richard Barnett (12)
  • Vernon Monroe (15)
  • Richard McGuire (15)
  • Willis Reed Jr. (22)
  • William Bradley (24)
  • Patrick Ewing (33)
  • William “Red” Holzman (613)

What year did the New York Knicks win an NBA Championship?
The Knicks won the title during the 1969-1970 and 1972-1973 seasons with center Willis Reed winning the NBA Finals MVP both seasons.

Who is the owner of the New York Knicks?
James Lawerence Dolan serves as executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, which is the owner of the franchise.

Who is the coach of the New York Knicks?
Tom Thibodeau has served as the coach of the team since 2020.