In 2019, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks were both in pursuit of the hottest free agent on the market, Kevin Durant. Though many fans thought Durant would go to the Knicks and revive Madison Square Garden, he ultimately chose to join forces with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
Two years later, the Knicks and Nets found themselves firmly in the race for a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference. The former was eliminated in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks, whereas the latter was a foot away from taking down the Milwaukee Bucks and making the conference finals.
With the 2020-21 season officially in the books for both New York teams, Durant shared his thoughts on the renewed rivalry between the Knicks and Nets during an appearance on the Boardroom’s Out of Office podcast.
Durant didn’t shy away from taking credit when it comes to reviving the Knicks-Nets rivalry.
“Knicks and Nets fans got a little beef right now cause both teams are solid,” Durant said. “We got the Madison Square Garden-Barclays beef as well in the city, so it just felt like a lot of energy, man. You look in our stands, you seeing superstars there: Beyonce, Jay-Z, H.E.R., Bryan Cranston … you see that energy floating around in our building for games like that now – what’s next year gonna look like? So people got that picture in their minds, and it’s cool to be a part of that shit, you know what I’m saying? To help build that s***.”
New Yorkers have been loyal to their basketball teams even through the tough times, so it’s nice to see the Knicks and Nets back in the playoff picture once again.
This rivalry should only get better over time, especially if the Knicks can land a star or two in free agency.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, will remain a title contender as long as its superstar trio remains healthy. Heck, even if one of them goes down we’ve seen what Kevin Durant can do by himself. The former MVP averaged 34.3 points per game this postseason.