New York Knicks: A look back at the beginning of the fall from grace

New York Knicks James Dolan (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New York Knicks James Dolan (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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NBA Trade Rumors New York Knicks Dave Fizdale (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Looking back at the rise and fall of the New York Knicks, beginning with how it all started

On August 2nd the matchups for the 2019-20 coveted Christmas Day games were released. For Toronto Raptors‘ fans like myself, Christmas came early as we learned that not only are the Raptors finally getting to play on Christmas Day but for the first time in franchise history, they are hosting the game.

No biggie. It only took six consecutive playoff appearances and a championship before the honor was granted.

On the other end of the spectrum, are fans of the New York Knicks who were UP-set to learn that 2019 would not be one more to add to what is already the highest total of Christmas Day games for any franchise in the league.

The league started Christmas Day games in 1947, one year after its inception. In the intervening 71 years, the Knicks have had a slot on that day 53 times. In recent history, the Knicks have taken the court on Christmas day nine times since the 2009-10 season.

Which would be fine for NBA fans in general except for the fact that it’s been a long time since the Knicks were any good. I know families for which watching the NBA on Christmas Day is like watching the NFL on Thanksgiving. When mostly everyone is off work and home with their families, they want to see good basketball.

For the past three consecutive years, Christmas Day NBA has included Knicks losses to the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics. In 2015, the loss was delayed by a day when the Atlanta Hawks came away with the win against New York on Boxing Day. The three years prior to that were three more Christmas Day losses for the Knicks.

You’d almost think that Knicks fans would be happy to be spared another Christmas day loss in 2019. But no, social media was abuzz last week with Knicks fans voicing their anger and disappointment that they would not get to see their team on the court come December 25th. One Tweet even going so far as to call the scheduling audacious on Adam Silver’s part.

Although right now, Adam Silver (is Silver even personally responsible for the Christmas Day schedule?) is playing the role of Grinch for Knicks fans to the majority of NBA fans, myself included, the 2019 Christmas schedule represents a righting of a long-time wrong.

For me though, the most interesting question is why the Knicks are such consistent underachievers. New York is considered the largest market in North American sports and the Knicks the most valuable team in the NBA. So, I wanted to know, why have the Knicks been so bad for so long?

There are a lot of factors that have impacted the Knicks’ lack of success for so long a period of time. So many that I couldn’t reasonably fit everything into just one article.

We’ll start the series during the 1998-99 season, the last time the Knicks were really good.