The NBA New York Knickerbockers, or Knicks are they are familiarly known, are based out of New York City. The Knicks play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference as part of the National Basketball Association. In 1946, they were one of the Basket Association of America’s founding members. When the National Basketball League and BAA merged, they joined the NBA. The Knicks and Boston Celtics are the only two teams from the original members of the National Basketball Association that still play in their original city. The nickname of Knickerbocker derived from the pseudonym that Washington Irving used for “A History of New York.” The name was first applied to Dutch settler descendants and later was used in general to describe New Yorkers.
The Knicks first rose to prominence in 1968-1975. Red Holzman was hired to be their new head coach in 1968 and the Knicks made the playoffs, led by young players like Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Bill Bradley. In 1969-70, the Knicks won 18 games in a row to set the NBA single season record and went 60-22 overall their best season record. The New York Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, despite a severe injury to captain Willis Reed, to win their first championship. The jerseys for the complete starting lineup from the 1969-70 Knicks team have all been retired. They include No. 10 Walt Frazier, No. 19 Willis Reed, No. 22 Dave DeBusschere, No. 24 Bill Bradley and No. 12 Dick Barnett. In 1972, the Knicks made it to the Finals once again after acquiring Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Jerry Lucas, but lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers. The next year the Knicks beat the Lakers and won their second NBA championship title.
In 1985, the Knicks drafted Georgetown University center Patrick Ewing as the number one overall pick that year. During the Ewing Era (1985-2000), the Knicks made it into the playoffs on a regular basis, but fell in the Eastern Conference playoff rounds to the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers several times. The Knicks lost the NBA finals in 1993-94 to the Houston Rockets and in 1998-99 to the San Antonio Spurs.