Tonight at 7 o'clock, the official rivalry between the Nets of Brooklyn and the Knicks of Manhattan begins.
These two teams have played each other 177 other times but that was not a rivalry. Those were games between an established New York Knicks team, with a home called The Garden against a nomadic suburban team that never had a home once it entered the NBA. Now this nomadic team has a home, The Barclay Center and a city by the name of Brooklyn backing them. This is going to be good.
The best rivalry that the city has ever had was between another Brooklyn team called the Dodgers and a team that hailed from the island of Manhattan, the Giants. Once these two teams split, the next rivalry to come down the pike is between the New York Rangers of Manhattan and the New York Islanders of Hempstead, soon to be the Islanders of Brooklyn. (If hockey ever plays again)
This rivalry between the two teams boils down to one chant, POTVIN SUCKS!!! This chant still fills the rafters of The Garden whenever the two teams meet. The chant started after Potvin bodychecked the Rangers high scoring forward, Ulf Nilsson, who sustained a broken ankle and was never the same after. The date that the chant was born was February 25, 1979.
No one wants a Net or a Knick to get hurt but something memorable will have to happen to make this rivalry reach the pinnacle of Dodgers/Giants or Rangers/Islanders. They meet four times a season and anything can happen. Maybe a fight can break out and Avery Johnson is last seen going for a ride on Tyson Chandler's leg a la Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning. The point is, don't rush it. These are two city teams and something will happen, eventually.