NBA Timelines: The New York Knicks


1946 – On June the sixth, Madison Square Garden were officially given permission to host games for a newly formed franchise playing in the Basketball Association of America. They were known as the New York Knickerbockers, and were founded by Ned Irish, a former sportswriter turned basketball promoter

On the first of November 1946, the Knicks played the first BAA game ever against the Toronto Huskies. Knick’s player Ossie Schectman, scored the first two points in BAA history and they won the game by two points.


1947-56 – The Knicks had made the playoffs every time for their first 10 years. They were always a powerhouse in the league, but could never reach the ultimate goal. They lost three finals series in a row against the Rochester Royals (1951) and Minneapolis Lakers (1952 and 1953).


1957-66 – These were dark days for New York. After being successful for 10 years, they eventually plummeted and only made the playoffs once for the next decade.

1967-73 – The Knicks were starting to rise again, under new head coach Red Holzman. They had also moved to the new Madison Square Garden, earlier that year. Each year they went a little further into the playoffs, and eventually, after 26 years of disappointment, in 1970, New York won their first championship against the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1971, they lost in the ECF, and in 1972, the Lakers got revenge on the Knicks in the NBA Finals. But in 1973, they once again reclaimed their titles as World Champions, beating the Lakers in five games. Little did the Knicks franchise know that this would be the beginning of a 47 year drought.

Credit: Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos

1974-84 – Shortly after the first two championships, the Knicks found themselves in another unsuccessful era. They only made the playoffs four times after their 1973 championship, and didn’t make the playoffs consistently for years.

Credit: Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos

1985-00 – In 1985, the Big Apple received the first pick in the first ever NBA Draft Lottery. They selected Georgetown prospect, Patrick Ewing. Ewing would lead the team to minor success throughout the late 80’s, but New York got a real taste for it throughout the 90’s. Earlier on in the decade, the Knicks had unfortunately ran into all the great teams, like Bird’s Celtics, Thomas’ Pistons, and of course Jordan’s Bulls. But once those guys retired, or were past their prime, Ewing and co finally got their time to shine. But New York didn’t take advantage of the window, and they lost to the Rockets in the 1994 NBA Finals.

They also lost to Indiana in the semi-finals the next year, which was the last year New York was going to get before baseball MJ worked back into basketball shape. The Knicks continued to lose in the semi-finals for four consecutive years after the finals appearance. But in 1999, the New York reached the Finals again. Could this end the 26 year drought? They quickly found out that answer was no, as they lost to San Antonio in five games. A new century then began, and the same Knicks were carried over into it. They lost to the Pacers in the ECF. Ewing then left New York for Seattle in the twilight of his career, ending a 15 year era.

Credit: Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos

2001-10 – After a decade of winning, there had to be at least a little bit of failure. This decade was for sure…a failure. 2 years earlier in the 1999 season, musician turned owner James Dolan bought the team. Knicks fans have been praying for him to sell the team ever since. Terrible general management and coaching saw them dwelling at the bottom for most of the decade. But things were looking up for the Knicks in the 2010 offseason. Amar’e Stoudemire signed a five year contract, and it looked certain that Denver Nugget, Carmelo Anthony would play in the blue and orange as well.

2011-20 – The Knicks were successful in getting major star, Carmelo Anthony. But many people till this day think it was a horrible decision to trade for him. The Knicks gave away their future (picks) for Melo, who had already made it clear that he was signing in New York later that year. New York’s impatience would become very costly in later years. But regardless of whether the trade was bad or not, Melo ended up on the Knicks and they made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They lost in the first round to a Celtics team, but New York were on the rise…maybe. As history tells us, the Knicks were an average team for the next two years, and they were back at the bottom of the standings by 2015. Since then, Carmelo was traded and New York lost pretty much every valuable player. The 2019 offseason was meant to be the beginning of a true dynasty. A new big three consisting of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and college star Zion Williamson, was meant to make up for the failure of the last “super-team”. Zion went out the window first, when New Orleans won the draft lottery. Second and third was KD and Kyrie, when they left their respective teams for cross town rival, Brooklyn. New York, later made what they thought was a “big move” and signed Julius Randle.

Credit: Wikipedia
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