2021 noticed the top of one of the well-known Finals streaks of all-time. Thirty-seven consecutive NBA Finals between 1984 and 2020 noticed at the very least one teammate of Shaquille O’Neal’s on one of many competing rosters. Nobody on final yr’s Suns or Bucks rosters had ever performed with O’Neal throughout his profession. “All streaks come to an finish,” mentioned O’Neal when requested whether or not or not he was upset when he heard that the streak had been damaged. He’s received some extent, however that doesn’t imply streaks aren’t nonetheless very enjoyable for the followers. Whether or not it was the Curse of the Bambino, which got here to an finish in 2004, or the Chicago Cubs curse that snapped after they received the 2016 World Sequence, the tales round these streaks give followers simply one other nice storyline to be careful for yearly.
With Sport 5 of the Warriors-Mavericks sequence taking place tonight, we’re at risk of seeing one other NBA streak come to an finish, one which has been happening for twice so long as the Shaq streak. The truth is, this streak has been happening because the inception of the NBA, and virtually nobody is aware of about it.
The New York Knicks haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 1999 and haven’t received a title since 1973, however since 1947 at the very least one former Knicks participant has appeared in each Finals, besides one (I’ll get to that in a second). In 2021, it was Langston Galloway for Phoenix in addition to Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis for the Bucks. In 2020, it was J.R. Smith for the Lakers. Jeremy Lin in 2019, Smith once more in 2018, Matt Barnes, Channing Frye, David Lee, yadda yadda yadda, all the way in which again to the Philadelphia Warriors’ Ralph Kaplowitz in 1947 (performed for the Knicks earlier in that 1946-47 season). The one yr that will get skipped is 1981. It’s a quandary whether or not or not this yr needs to be thought-about.
Two members of the Boston Celtics — Gerald Henderson and Eric Fernsten — would wind up turning into Knicks later of their careers (Fernsten in 1983; Henderson in 1986), however no one in that sequence had performed for the Knicks prior. Boston’s Nathaniel “Tiny” Archibald and Houston’s Billy Paultz had each performed for the New York Nets of their careers prior, however that’s as shut as this will get. So, I assume technically the streak ends in 1981, however many defenders of the streak declare that it’s nonetheless on as a result of Fernsten and Henderson each grew to become Knicks later of their careers. Personally, I feel it is a cop out.
Even when Dallas loses tonight, possibly Luka Dončić turns into a Knick later in his profession. We are able to’t rely that out. So, personally, I imagine the streak began in 1982, which makes this a 39-year stretch of former Knicks within the Finals (and 0 Knicks’ championships), which remains to be longer than the Shaq streak ever was. In the event you nonetheless need to take into account this a 75-year streak, energy to you. Who am I to reign on what little solace a Knicks fan can take these days?
Of the four teams left standing this year, only Dallas has a former Knick on their squad, Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina was a Knick between 2018 and 2021. The Mavericks are looking to become the first team ever to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. They took Game 4, but now have to steal Game 5 in the Bay Area in order to stay alive. Will they do it? Probably not, but for the sake of drama in a blowout-filled postseason and the streak, I kind of hope they do.