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Battle for 2015 NBA All-Star Game Intensifies Nets-Knicks Rivalry

Mikhail Prokhorov would like to put on a show in Brooklyn in 2015.
Mikhail Prokhorov would like to put on a show in Brooklyn in 2015.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Brett David RobertsCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2013

Like in most two-team cities, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are building a not-so-friendly rivalry, and the flare is only sure to intensify with the news from CBS that the two franchises could be in direct competition for the 2015 All-Star event.

The former New Jersey Nets became a much bigger draw when minority owner Jay-Z began bringing some culture to the franchise, and Russian majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov gave the Nets an owner whose mind (and pocketbook) was fully committed to bringing a winning culture to Brooklyn.

To top it off, the Nets built the Barclays Center. Having $1 billion new facility always increases a team's chances of winning the bid to host an All-Star event.

But Madison Square Garden is as close to rebuilt as a facility like that could be. It's in the third and final phase of a renovation which should be completed in the 2013-14 season. MSG has always been a mecca of not just hoops but of great events.

Then, beyond the Brooklyn venue and the fabled house of hoops in Manhattan, there is the budding rivalry between the teams.

In the past, the Knicks were the big draw in New York City, with little competition. With another NBA franchise, there is the added element of which team the people of the city will choose to support.

But Bleacher Report's Josh Martin wrote that the rivalry developing between the teams and the fanbases themselves is the NBA's best inner-city rivalry.  Martin unabashedly wrote, "New York is still a Knicks town and will remain so for quite some time."

Can the Nets get enough attention in direct competition with the Knicks?

That underlying theme will be there for Prokhorov, Jay-Z, Nets players and Nets fans: What can we do to take this city? What can we do to show that the Nets are a draw to be reckoned with in a city that has put some of the most showcased teams in NBA history?

It takes a lot to sway an entire city, and the 2015 NBA All-Star game won't do it. But all great franchises were built over time, and the Nets winning the event over the vaunted Knicks would be a step in the right direction for a team whose immediate focus is just on continuing to improve on their playoff positioning.

The Knicks currently have the second-best record in the east at 32-18, while the Nets are fourth at 31-22. But there's a lot more than W's and L's that go into determining who has bragging rights in the Big Apple, and landing the 2015 event is as big as a multitude of wins.  

It's going to be a huge event for the city, regardless of which franchise hosts it.  

CBS mentioned "several" other NBA cities bidding to host the event, but NYC is the biggest and most noteworthy city in the U.S., and it's a house divided now.

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