Quick Intro: New York Knicks History
The New York Knicks history (formally the Knickerbockers) includes a great deal of events because this team is one of the founding teams of the National Basketball Association (NBA) beginning play in 1946. The team has won only two championships—as of 2010—in its long history
Early History The first two decades in New York Knicks history yielded little success, though they were the first team to sign an African-American to a contract. In the late 60s, the team signed talented young players Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier and (future presidential candidate) Bill Bradley--one of the most talent trios in New York Knicks history--in addition to hiring Red Holzman as coach. In the 1969 to 1970 season, the team won a then-record eighteen straight games on their way to beating the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games for the championship. In this series, team captain Reed injured his knee badly in game five and missed a game six loss. At the start of game seven, he hobbled onto the court and scored the first four points for the team. Though he was ineffective the rest of the game, his courage inspired the team to victory. It remains one of the most poignant moments in New York Knicks History.
The New York Knicks added Jerry Lucas and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and made it to the finals again in 1972 where they lost to the Lakers in five. The following year the team beat the Lakers in five, winning the second championship in New York Knicks history and their second of the decade.
Enter Patrick Ewing The team achieved little success after that, but drafted Patrick Ewing with the first overall pick in the 1985 draft. Things were about to change for the New York Knicks. A few years later, the team added guard Mark Jackson and coach Rick Pitino and in the 1988 to 1989 season, went 52-30 and made it to the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they lost to the Chicago Bulls.
Decorated coach Pat Riley was added prior to the start of the 1991 to 1992 season. He proved to be one of the most successful coaches in New York Knicks history, but the team could never get past the Bulls. When Michael Jordan retired, the Knicks took advantage of his absence and advanced to the finals. They played Riley’s version of tough, rugged defense, but lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games. After the 1999 to 2000 season, Ewing was traded—his era with the team had resulted in some of the best regular season success in New York Knicks history, but no championships.
The 2000s for the New York Nicks were marked by the arrival and departure of league legend Isaiah Thomas as director of operations, an infamous brawl with the Denver Nuggets and many efforts at rebuilding.