NEW YORK (AP) — How big is New York versus New York? Just ask the guy who runs the place.
"If we were to have a World Series between the Yankees and the Mets, or a Super Bowl between the Jets and the Giants, or an NBA championship between these two great teams, No. 1, New York City is so big, and the people here come from every part of the world and from every part of America," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
"And it would be the best thing that ever happened to all of those leagues."
The Knicks and Brooklyn Nets can't play for the NBA title, but competing to be best in the Big Apple is pressure enough.
Bloomberg was speaking at a recent press conference to announce that the Knicks and Nets would jointly host the 2015 All-Star weekend. Officials from both clubs and the league took part, all assuring that the teams get along well and look forward to working together.
Sure, maybe for one weekend. Don't expect them to play nice now. Not with two good teams sharing one passionate city.
It may be a Knicks town, but the Nets think it's their time.
"Now you've got New York Knicks, who won the Atlantic last year, then you have us coming in here talking about winning the division, winning the East, winning the championship," Brooklyn's Paul Pierce said. "So you've got two New York teams talking about trying to obtain the same thing. So obviously it's going to cause some type of friction between the two, which is good for the NBA, which is good for the city."
Not to mention for ratings — all four meetings are on national TV, two on ESPN and two on TNT. And certainly for headlines — the trash talk among players such as Pierce, Jason Terry, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton handed local papers plenty of NBA coverage during the usual dead days of August and September.
Imagine what it will be like when they play in December, or twice in April — perhaps with a division title or home-court advantage in a playoff series on the line.
"I think people are making more of it than it really has to be. It's only four games out of the year. But it's going to be heated. I didn't get to play in one last year but I'm looking forward to it," said the Knicks' Kenyon Martin, who played for the Nets along with Jason Kidd when they dominated the Knicks a decade ago.
But it was never really a rivalry back then — or at any point when the Nets were in New Jersey. They simply weren't close enough on a map or in the standings to build what they have now, and nobody knows it better than Kidd, who played for the Knicks last season and is now coaching the Nets.
"When I was on the other side, we always measured ourselves against the Knicks and now that we're both on the same side of the river, it is a very competitive and healthy rivalry," he said. "And hopefully we can win a couple more games than they do, but it's fun for the city to have both teams here."
Kidd seems comfortable again in his role as Knicks tormentor. When he saw Anthony at a Sept. 11 charity event, he teased his former teammate about his impending free agency and taunted him about how the Nets would defend him.