Or at the very least, he can read them.
The “New” and the “York” scrawled in succession on Felton’s No. 2 jersey are important. They mean that the concrete jungle is the New York Knicks’ territory. And Felton wants Pierce and the Brooklyn Nets to know that’s never going to change. Ever.
In response to The Truth’s assertion that it’s time for New York to belong to the Nets, Felton told ESPN New York’s Ian Begley that the Knicks’ cross-town rival will never take over the city.
“They will never take over the city. Because we’ve got ‘New York’ on our chest,” Felton said Sunday. “They’ve got ‘Brooklyn’ on their chest, and we’ve got ‘New York.’ They’ll never take over the city.
“[Pierce] saying that is just him talking. At the end of the day, it’s all about rivalries. We understand that — he knows that, I know that. He’s just trying to fuel it.”
“He’s just trying to talk, talk, talk, to fuel the rivalry, which is good. I love it,” said Felton, who laughed when asked about Pierce’s comments. “I think it’s good for us, it’s good for the whole state, it’s good. So, whatever — I love it.
Tough to argue with Felton’s logic. The Knicks do indeed have New York running horizontally across their jerseys while the Nets don’t. Though some would have liked to hear Felton perhaps guarantee the Knicks were simply better or the Nets were overrated or inferior opponents, taking the literal route was just as good.
Felton is also correct in suggesting that Pierce is attempting to fuel the Knicks-Nets rivalry. Coming over from the Boston Celtics, he’s already spent the first 15 years of his career locked in a heated battle against the Knicks. Now playing for the same city, that hatred is only going to intensify as the Nets look to zero in on the Knicks’ turf.
But will they? Even if they’re the “better” team, will they ever be “New York’s” team?
Of course not. The Knicks were here first, and they’re one of the most storied franchises in all the NBA. That doesn’t change overnight or in a season, or even in a decade. History means something.
Take the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Paul has transformed Tinseltown’s red-jerseyed step-child into a contender, a faction that is (probably) better than the current version of the Lakers. And yet the Clippers still aren’t Los Angeles’ team. They can’t erase the past, and everything the Lakers have done for that city.
Much of the same applies here. Brooklyn could end up having the better record, winning the Atlantic Division and even the NBA championship, and that’s going to change nothing. The Nets will then be the “better” team, but they won’t be New York’s team.
Because the Knicks have “New York” scribbled across their chest. They have a superstar in Carmelo Anthony who means more to the league at the moment than any star on the Nets.
They’ve forged a bond with the city that no newcomer can destroy. No matter what they do. Or how many championships they win. Or how much trash they talk. Never. Ever.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.