NYC Basketball Guide

Jonathan Zeller

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You've heard about basketball, of course—one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of viewers at home and abroad. You know that New York City is one of the best places to see the game in its professional, collegiate and pickup forms. But if you're a novice, you might still have a few questions. What is a Knick? Where is streetball played, and how can you watch? Are graphing calculators allowed? Worry not—this is the year you become a fan. We've created the ultimate beginner's guide to NYC hoops.

NYC NBA Cheat Sheet

Team New York Knicks Brooklyn Nets
Year founded 1946 1967 (moved to Brooklyn in 2012)
Home arena Madison Square Garden Barclays Center
Championships 1970, 1973 1974, 1976 (American Basketball Association)
Notable celebrity connection Spike Lee is a constant courtside presence. Jay Z used to be a part owner of the team, and designed the logo.
Sample moment of agony The Pacers' Reggie Miller somehow scores 8 points in 11 seconds to derail seemingly certain playoff victory in 1995. Financial troubles (stemming in part from territorial fees due the Knicks) force team to sell Julius Erving's contract upon entry to the NBA in 1976.
Sample moment of triumph Willis Reed limps onto the court to play hero in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. Erving dunks from the free-throw line in the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest.
Named for inanimate object? Yes (sort of). Yes.

For more information, including complete schedules, and to purchase tickets visit our Knicks and Nets event pages.

College Basketball in NYC

You may not think of New York City as the center of the college basketball universe—we're a long way from Lawrence, Kansas, or North Carolina's Tobacco Road, for that matter—but there may be no place where you can see a wider variety of NCAA action. Here's why:

Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center draw the best teams. Starting with early season events like the NIT Season Tip-Off in November and through the ACC and Big East tournaments in March, these two big arenas in the media capital of the world frequently host top-ranked programs. This year Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Syracuse are among those that will visit.

For a full accounting of each arena’s college basketball offerings this season, visit these pages:

College basketball at Madison Square Garden
College basketball at Barclays Center

New York City is where March Madness was born, and it’s back. Before the NCAA Tournament was the main event, the NIT was the Holy Grail for the nation's best squads. The first NIT, held in 1938, came a year before the NCAA tournament's debut and brought six top teams to Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden will, again, host the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional in March 2017.

Basketball All Year Round

Even in summertime, when the NBA is out of season and local college teams are off, you can see plenty of competitive basketball. There's streetball (which is free and takes place all around the five boroughs) and, at Madison Square Garden, the WNBA's New York Liberty—led by Olympian, NCAA champion and Queens native Tina Charles.

Also Check Out the Rising Stars

For one year only, while the new Nassau Coliseum rises in Hempstead, NY, the Long Island Nets—the Brooklyn Nets’ new D-League affiliate—will play their home games at Barclays Center. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.


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