Yesterday, the Knicks released “new” uniforms for the 2012-12 season, although they look very similar to their uniforms from the last 10 years or so. The main differences are that there are no longer side panels, there is a rounded neck instead of a v-neck, and there is a colored waistband (blue for home and orange for road).
Howard Beck of the New York Times writes that he believes that these moves may be a way to counteract the great sales of Brooklyn Nets gear recently. There are also signs in the uniform that show that the Knicks are trying to separate themselves from the Nets and keep their fanbase. One sign is that on the inside of the collar is written, “once a Knick, always a Knick”. This shows that the Knicks are telling their fans that if they have ever been a Knicks fan, they should stay with the Knicks and not desert the team if a more attractive or fun team comes around (like the Nets). Also, maybe the biggest difference between this version of the Knicks uniforms and the old version is that there is no more black trim on the uniform. The old version had black side panels and black tracing around the letters. The new version contains no black whatsoever.
Are these uniform moves just a coincidence in the same year that the Nets move to Brooklyn and have excitement around the team for the first time in years? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Additionally, the Knicks have been renovating Madison Square Garden over the last two summers. Would they have done this if the Nets had not been moving to Brooklyn in a brand new arena? They probably would have, but MSG has been old and ratty for years, and these changes really should have been made 10 or 15 years ago.
What this shows to both Howard Beck and myself is that the Knicks are very aware that the Nets are coming to take over New York (as Stephen A. Smith would say) and the Knicks are making these non-basketball moves to prevent the takeover. However, as I have said many times before, the basketball ruler of New York will be the franchise that puts the better team on the court, and the Knicks did not do a whole lot to improve that team in the offseason. Brooklyn is coming for New York and the Knicks should be scared.