New York Knicks
The New York Knicks (also known as the Knickerbockers) are a team of firsts. They played in the first-ever BAA game in 1946, drafted the first-ever non-white basketball player, and then drafted the first African American basketball player in the NBA. So how did a team with a shooting percentage of just 28% in its first season secure two NBA titles since its start? Let’s go over everything there is to know about the New York Knicks.
The Beginning Years
The 1940s were prime time for college basketball, a concept that the Boston American sports editor and the owner of the Boston Globe caught onto quickly. They wanted to form a professional basketball team that would highlight college basketball players after their college days were over. The two set out to have Madison Square Garden as the team’s official arena, but the team was ultimately awarded to the president of the arena (Ned Irish) in 1946.
The name “Knickerbockers” came from the nickname used for Dutch settlers in the New York area in the early days. The newly-formed New York Knicks set out on their inaugural season in 1946 with a game against the Toronto Huskies. The Kicks were able to clinch a victory during their first-ever game, also the first game in BAA history. Despite the early success, the Knicks didn’t make it far in postseason play.
1947 brought coach Joe Lapchick as well as the first non-white basketball player in league history, Wataru Misaka. The season beginning in 1949 meant the merging of the two professional basketball leagues at the time, which made the NBA. The team known for firsts also brought on the first African American player, Sweetwater Clifton, in 1950 as well as future Hall of Famer Carl Braun. The new team was an immediate success, advancing to the NBA Finals 3 consecutive years in 1951, 1952, and 1953.
The team struggled with mediocre playing and lack of achievement for quite a few years until the groundbreaking 1970 Knicks season. Not only did the team lock down an 18 game win streak, but they also made it to the NBA Finals and snatched the title away from the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1972, the Knicks and Lakers found themselves head to head for the championship once more. Though the Knicks lost in 1972, they faced the Lakers again in 1973 and won.
Between 1988 and 2001, the Knicks consistently qualified for the playoffs each and every year. The Knicks even made it to the NBA Finals on another two occasions, 1994 and 1999, but couldn’t prevail.
The New York Knicks have had plenty of logos since the team was officially created in 1946.
1946 - 1952
The first jersey used between 1946 to 1952 was mostly white with blue lettering. “New York” was written on the front.
1953 - 1962
From 1953 to 1962, the Knicks used a bit of a unique jersey. This one was mostly white with smaller blue lettering spelling out “New York.” Horizontal blue and orange stripes went up the sides of the jersey.
1962 - 1968
The 1962 to 1968 jersey was mostly white with blue lettering and orange outlines.
1968 - 1979
The first blue jersey was introduced by the Knicks in 1968. This jersey had orange lettering and white outlines.
1979 - 1983
More of a retro-style jersey was adopted in 1979. This particular jersey was mostly an off-white color and had “Knicks” written in dark red beneath a large number.
1983 - 1997
The jersey worn between 1983 and 1997 looked very similar to the one used in 1968.
1998 - 2013
Starting in 1998, the Knicks added black highlights to the previous jersey. Black vertical stripes could be seen going up the sides of the jersey.
2013 - Today
The current jersey was established in 2013 and incorporates more white highlights than black. It looks very similar to the jerseys worn by the team decades ago. The Knicks’ Nike jersey remains largely unchanged from this classic design.