A First-Hand Experience: Covering New York City’s First NBA Playoff Double-Header

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Photo: RFERL.org

Photo: RFERL.org

NEW YORK — In New York City, fans are used to choosing sides. It is either the MLB’s Mets or Yankees, NFL’s Giants or Jets, or NHL’s Rangers or Islanders.

Never both.

That is why, immediately after it became known that the Nets were planning a move to Brooklyn, many Knicks fans began a personal crusade against all things Nets. Led by outspoken owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, some Nets fans were all too happy to take the fight to the Knicks.

Since Jason Kidd was traded to the Dallas Mavericks back in 2008, it has been a steady decline for the fan base.

Invigorated by a brash and arrogant ownership group—of which Jay-Z was a part—many Nets fans, tired of being the little brother, declared war on their now intra-city rival.

Back in July 2012, I was offered the opportunity by SportsNet New York to serve as the Executive Editor of SNYNets.com—SNY’s home for the Brooklyn Nets. It is an offer I accepted and in addition to my duties here at SheridanHoops.com. Today, I cover the Nets for SNY and manage its online content for the team.

Following, chronicling and reporting on both teams this season has been a tedious but rewarding experience. But I quickly realized that it would be difficult to stand on the fence between the Knicks and Nets.

New Yorkers aren’t used to that. All season long, fans of both teams would ask me the same question.

“Whose side are you on, anyway?”

That inquiry usually came after a column or a radio interview in which I was critical of either Carmelo Anthony or Deron Williams or of either team, as a whole.

Most of the time, I would smile and nod. Sometimes, I’d offer a little more.

“I’m on New York’s side,” I’d say occasionally.

And that’s the truth.

I am a lifelong New Yorker and an NBA junkie, and like most members of the Pro Basketball Writers Association, I am a fan of the game.

More than that, I am a fan of New York. So April 20 was a special day for me. For the first time in NBA history, New York City would host an NBA Playoffs double-header.

By 2:00pm Eastern time, I had already been up for a few hours and had accomplished quite a bit.

A long day awaited, so I thought it wise to get an early start. Eventually, I made my way to Madison Square Garden and encountered a media storm reminiscent of what was on hand during Houston’s All-Star Weekend.

I stood through Mike Woodson’s pre-game press conference, because there were few empty seats in the press room. It was an April version of Linsanity.

I took a brief trip down to the Knicks locker room when I got a phone call from Kingston, Jamaica. It was Nicollette calling from KLAS—a Kingston, Jamaica-based radio station.

Earlier in the week, I confirmed a radio interview with KLAS and Nicollette was calling to make sure that I was still available.

A short 15 minutes later, I was on with Tony Young, the station’s star personality. I took the call in Madison Square Garden’s concourse, watching fans walk by and feeling a tangible and exciting buzz as the seconds ticked toward game time.

“It’s a very exciting day for me, personally,” I told Tony. “I am here at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks are ready to host their first playoff series in more than 10 years, and afterward, I am heading down to Brooklyn to watch the Nets do the same thing.”

For the first time ever, two pro basketball teams in New York City would host NBA Playoff games. And I would be there for both of them.

As fans of the game, we invest so much—time, money, emotion. As season ticket holders and supporters of teams, fans invest their hearts.

For me, the most rewarding return I can get is to see and witness a piece of history, with my own eyes.

Being a part of it? Even better.

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  1. Richard Faust says:

    Hey Moke,
    Wassup G! On March 29, 1974, the New York Knickerbockers defeated the Capital Bullets 102-91 at Madison Square Garden, while the New York Nets were defeating the Virginia Squires 108-96 at Nassau Coliseum. Both games were playoffs. The Nets won the ABA championship on the back of Julius Erving while the New York Knicks were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs (Boston 4, New York 1), as the Milwaukee Bucks, led by Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the NBA title. Those of us who know the game, know the game. Your screed should be deleted. Just sayin’. Over and out.

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