Why are the New York Knicks called Knickerbockers? Origin and history of the team’s name
It is one of the most famous NBA franchises in the league’s history, and there’s plenty to know about the origins of the team’s name.
The New York Knicks are a professional basketball team based in, unsurprisingly, New York City, and it competes in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference. The team was founded in 1946 and is one of the original teams of the NBA.
Know your Knickerbockers
The Knicks have a storied history, winning two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973 and producing many legendary players such as Walt Frazier, Patrick Ewing, and Willis Reed. The Knicks play their home games at Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous arenas in the world.
The team has a large and dedicated fan base, and the Knicks are considered one of the most valuable franchises in the NBA. Despite some struggles in recent years, the team remains a major force in the league and continues to be a source of pride for New York City basketball fans.
The name origin and history of the NY Knicks
In 1946, Max Kase and Walter Brown, two well-known sports journalists, and others met at the Commodore Hotel in New York City to establish the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and award charter franchises to major cities across the US. Ned Irish, the president of Madison Square Garden and a retired sportswriter, was present at the meeting. Kase had initially planned to own and operate the New York franchise, but Irish impressed the owners with his vast resources, and the franchise was awarded to him instead.
Irish wanted a name for his franchise that would represent the city of New York, and after casting votes among his staff, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers. The name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book ‘A History of New York,’ which referred to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what later became New York and, later, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. The name has essential meaning for Knicks supporters, reflecting the team’s deep roots in the city and its history.
Fred Podesta, a former executive at Madison Square Garden who passed away in 1999, once reminisced, “The name came out of a hat. We were all sitting in the office one day - Irish, (publicity man) Lester Scott, and a few others on the staff. We each put a name in the hat, and when we pulled them out, most of them said Knickerbockers, after Father Knickerbocker, the symbol of New York City. It soon was shortened to Knicks.”