Knicks vs. Nets – Who Does Grace Embrace?

Banner illustration created by Grace Gazette Editors

Coming off of a strong season for both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, the Grace Gazette investigates the teams’ rivalry in the high school and predictions for what this season may bring.

New York Knicks:

After qualifying for the playoffs unexpectedly — tying for the 4th seed in the 2020-2021 season — Knicks fans have high hopes for the 2021-2022 season. Led by esteemed all-star and “Most Improved Player” Julius Randle, and boasting five players averaging over 10 points per game, the Knicks are certainly one of the deepest rosters in the league. Despite being quite average in points per game, field goal percentage, and points allowed, the Knicks have more wins than losses, 9-8 respectively, and are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. In a relatively strong conference, the Knicks are playing well and aiming for a playoff seed in the spring. 

At 46 Cooper Square, Knicks fans are everywhere and tend to have a toxic attitude towards Nets fans. As Jaeden W. ‘24 claimed, “Almost every Nets fan [is] fake because they were completely irrelevant and had no fans until KD (Kevin Durant) and Kyrie [Irving] signed.” Knicks fans seem to believe that Nets fans are “bandwagon” fans; fans who only support the winningest team. “I may love a usually losing team, but at least I am not a bandwagoner,” quipped Olivia B. ‘22. 

Knicks fans are also, in some ways, united by their loathing of the Nets as well.  The rivalry brings out the playful side of students; Chris K. ‘22 is a Knicks fan “because [he] has a soul,” and Josh M. ‘22 asserted that “James Harden is a bum!” This rivalry extends beyond just students. Brian Reilly, Grace’s Covid response manager and a lab day coordinator, expressed that he had “fond memories of watching Bernard King control the court at Madison Square Garden.”

Brooklyn Nets:

After an injury-riddled second round, a heart-racing game seven, and a historic performance from Kevin Durant in the 2021 Playoffs, the Nets are striving for their first championship win this year. With Kyrie Irving sidelined due to his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Nets are being carried by Kevin Durant and James Harden, both of whom are surmounting various injuries. Similar to the Knicks, the Nets have one of the strongest benches, a major reason for their success thus far. They now have 12 wins and 5 losses and are tied for the best record in the eastern conference and third best in the entire league. Durant leads the league with the most points per game at an incredible 57% from the field. It is almost certain that the Nets will make the playoffs but the question is how far will they go?

At Grace, Nets fans don’t seem to have the same animosity toward Knicks fans. Instead, Nets fans try to justify their fandom with the most common reason being that they live or have lived in Brooklyn. Coach Timothy Quinn, the Associate Director of Athletics and Head Coach of the Varsity Boys Basketball team, was a Nets fan even before the team’s Durant and Harden days. He remarked, “I certainly enjoy the current Nets duo of KD and Harden but I enjoyed watching the Nets under Coach Atkinson and the development of Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, and Joe Harris.” 

The Grace Gazette conducted a poll to survey which team dominates at Grace. The poll revealed that 58.8% of the community supports the Knicks and 41.2% are fans of the Nets. These results are not entirely representative of the school’s opinion, as only seventeen responses were recorded, although it is probable that the Knicks are the more popular team at Grace. The Knicks’ popularity can, in part, be attributed to their location as the high school, and many of its students, are situated in Lower Manhattan. The Nets, however, are a Brooklyn based team that moved to Brooklyn in 2012 after previously being based in New Jersey. As a result of the Nets’ relatively recent move, the team’s fan base may not be as established as the Knicks’. 

Despite the rivalry that Knicks and Nets fans uphold, fans within Grace will continue to share their mutual love for basketball.