Knicks, Nets to give rivalry a rest during All-Star Weekend
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The Knicks and Nets will give peace a chance for the sake of the NBA All-Star Game.
At a news conference Wednesday announcing that the two crosstown rivals will co-host All-Star Weekend in 2015, officials from both teams put the rivalry aside. They instead called for cooperation now and that weekend.
"To our friends in Brooklyn," Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan said, "like so many other times when New Yorkers put their differences aside for something bigger, we are looking forward to giving our rivalry a rest, for a little bit, to ensure that we deliver the very best All-Star experience the league has ever held."
Nets representative Irina Pavlova, the president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, echoed those remarks.
"We are looking forward to putting our differences aside as Mr. Dolan said for a little bit, rolling up our sleeves and truly making this a showcase event for a wonderful city," Pavlova said.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will house the Friday and Saturday events of All-Star Weekend, including the slam- dunk contest and three-point shootout. Madison Square Garden will host the 2015 All-Star Game on Sunday. The Garden previously held the All-Star Game in 1954, 1955, 1968 and 1998.
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the league went to the Nets and Knicks with the idea of sharing the festivities. Silver also said New York could be host again a few years later with the Nets getting the game and the Knicks the other events. It will depend on how the 2015 weekend goes and whether the Knicks want to share it with the Nets again.
Their rivalry has intensified since Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets and moved them from New Jersey to Brooklyn last year. Prokhorov has made remarks about Dolan and the Knicks in the past. The rivalry likely will continue to grow with the Nets' offseason acquisitions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
Dolan was asked about the rivalry and how he thought the Knicks stack up against the Nets, but he wouldn't discuss the latter.
"I think the rivalry is a good thing for New York," Dolan said. "From that point of view, it's enjoyable. And as far as how the teams will do, I'm not going to make my predictions here. This is about the All-Star Game. My hope is that both teams have a lot of players in the All-Star Game. That would be great."
NBA commissioner David Stern said Dolan and Prokhorov met while the two organizations were negotiating how to share All-Star Weekend. Stern said the league helped set up the meeting.
When asked what he got out of it, Dolan said, "free lunch."
Stern and Pavlova said the meeting wasn't to clear the air or settle any differences.
"This whole thing is totally blown out of proportion," Pavlova said. "They're two owners of two New York teams that never actually sat down and talked before. It wasn't like there was a hatchet to be buried. It was a friendly conversation between two guys owning basketball teams in New York City."
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.