The New York Knicks got their start in 1946 as one of the initial members of the NBA. Ned Irish – the founding father of the Knicks – led the club to victory against the Toronto Huskies (68-66) during their first showdown in this newfound league.
The Knickerbockers moniker goes back to the Dutch settlers who first settled in New York. The name comes from the first settlers rolling their pants just below the knees. This style of pants was eventually called knickerbockers, or knickers for short. Fred Podesta, a Madison Square Garden executive, claims that the name for the new NBA club was picked out of a hat. As the story goes, Ned Irish – a Knicks legend – was sitting around with a few business partners and chose a name out of a pool of submissions. “Knickerbockers” was featured on most entries, which solidified the name for New York’s first NBA team.
Father Knickerbocker was used as the team’s first primary logo. The iconic symbol featured an older man with a cotton wig, tricorn, and – most importantly – knickers. However, 1964 marked the end of Father Knickerbocker’s reign when the team redesigned their logo to promote the “Knicks” wordmark with a simple basketball clipart. This pattern would go on to serve as the primary logo until modern day – with several variations implemented, of course.
The Knicks have incorporated different designs – alternative and primary – of their logo on the shorts of their jerseys for much of their existence in the NBA.
The Knicks Greats
As currently part of the Atlantic Division, the New York Knicks have had their ups and downs over the course of their storied history. The Knickerbockers have made appearances in the playoffs 42 times throughout their 70 seasons played. The New York–based squad brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy back home to the Garden twice – first in 1970 and again in 1973 after defeating the reigning Western Conference champs: the Los Angeles Lakers.
Over the course of the team’s history, the Knicks have had several NBA greats fill their superstar roster. This includes Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and Walt Frazier as well as exceptional ballers such as John Starks.
Continue reading to experience the evolution of the #NewYorkKnicks iconic jersey and logo throughout their tenure in the NBA.
Notable New York Jersey Changes
1946: The Knicks inaugural jerseys feature the official colors of New York City: blue, white, and orange. White is utilized as the primary color with blue and orange accents. The jersey features the city name across the torso with numbers underneath.
1961: The Knicks wear white jerseys at home with blue letters outlined orange trim. Orange stripes, outlined in blue, run down both sides of the shorts.
1968: The jersey undergoes minor changes during this time. The lettering becomes an orange shade outlined by blue trim. The club ditches the belted shorts and opts for a simple drawstring design instead.
1979: For the first time in team history, the club implements drastic changes to the jerseys. In unforeseen turn, the team swaps the city’s official colors for a maroon and dark blue color palette. This year also marks the only time the team’s nickname – Knicks – will appear on the jersey.
1983: The team reverts to blue jerseys with orange numbers outlined in white trim, ditching the maroon colorway. The “New York” wordmark finds its way back to the front of the jersey, and the numbers are found right below. The Knicks decorate their shorts with jersey numbers on the right side and a team logo on the left.
1995: The Knicks remove the jersey numbers from the shorts, but a new alternative logo appears. The club rocks white jerseys with orange numbers outlined in blue for their home court fit. The official NBA logo is placed underneath the left edge of the collar.
2002: Reverting to blue as the primary jersey color, the Knicks stick with orange lettering and white trim. Black panels trail down both sides of the jersey and are outlined by thick orange stripes.
2016:The trim along the sleeve openings is shortened but maintains the traditional color scheme. The primary logo is featured on the bottom of the shorts, and the “New York” script across the chest is slightly modified.
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