Knicks Greatest Rivalries: Bulls

Jonah Ballow


Each week, will guide fans through the Knicks Greatest Rivalries, beginning with their battles against the Chicago Bulls in the 90s. MSG Network is the spot to check out complete games and commentary from former Knicks Derek Harper, Anthony Mason, and radio play by play man Spero Dedes.

To gain a clear historical perspective on one of the greatest rivalries in the NBA, one must journey back to the 1982 NCAA National Championship Game between the Georgetown Hoyas and North Carolina Tar Heels. Two young collegiate stars raised their individual profiles while providing the precursor to a historic battle that featured the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls during the 90s. Michael Jordan lifted his Tar Heels to a title with a game-winning jumper and Patrick Ewing established himself as an NBA-ready star of the future. Two years following the Championship Game, the Bulls selected Jordan with the third overall pick and subsequently acquired the essential piece for a dynasty. In 1985, the Knicks snatched the 7-footer out of Georgetown, carving out a space in the paint for a Hall of Fame center. The two franchises were heading in the right direction and on a collision course towards a tremendous rivalry.

"It was very rejuvenating, playing against Michael Jordan and one of the greatest teams ever back in the 90s,” MSG Network color analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier recalled in a conversation with “Patrick Ewing, [Charles] Oakley, [John] Starks, I have very profound memories of that series. I was doing radio with Mike Breen and we thought we were the luckiest guys in the world to be covering this type of basketball and getting paid to do it, so it was dynamic.”

Both New York and Chicago are major metropolitan cities with hardcore fan bases. The focus on the Knicks and Bulls stretched beyond their city limits and intrigued fans across the country due to the intensity of the rivalry, high-profile playoff series, and memorable moments. It all began in1989, where the two teams met in the NBA Playoffs for the first of six matchups. Just about every time the two teams collided in the postseason there was a sense that the winning squad would represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals as seen in 1994 with the Knicks. Ewing and Jordan were named to the 50 Greatest Players list along with Bulls small forward Scottie Pippen.

Coming up
On Tuesday, will examine the atmosphere and memorable moments surrounding the Knicks-Bulls contests with thoughts from Harper, Mason, and Frazier.

Social Connect
What are your memories from the Knicks-Bulls rivalry in the 90s? Share your thoughts by sending tweets to the Knicks twitter account and leaving comments on the Knicks official Facebook page.
For more news and notes on the team follow the New York Knicks and Jonah on Twitter. Visit the official New York Knicks Facebook page here.