Spite is a gift that keeps on giving, and that’s no different in the NBA. Sometimes it can even enhance it.
This time, the shiny-wrapped present comes from All-Star guard James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets. Anyone who has been paying attention to the league knows that it’s one of those miraculous seasons that both the Nets and Knicks are good at the same time.
Enter The New Yorker, which posted its latest cover on Monday showing Knicks players Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett, who have both played extremely well this season, chasing down Brooklyn’s superstar Big 3 of Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant.
However, Harden — despite being one of the chased, not the chaser — apparently wasn’t too fond of the original cover, so he did some editing. The former MVP cropped out both Knicks players in the photo and only showed himself and his Nets teammates, with no Knick to be found. Harden then proceeded to post it on Twitter with no caption.
It’s undeniable that the petty wars have begun between these two New York-based teams. The fans already have a cattiness between them, which makes the rivalry even more intense and now that both teams are good it’s only going to get spicier.
Last night, the Knicks clinched their first winning season since 2012-13. They’ve won 12 of their last 13 games and currently have sole possession of the fourth spot in the East. The Knicks have been hooping under coach Tom Thibodeau. They are number one in the league in points allowed and have a legitimate MVP candidate in Randle.
The Nets are sitting at number two in the East despite myriad injuries throughout the season. There are legitimate concerns about if we will ever see this squad fully healthy again this season. Harden continues to nurse a hamstring injury, and there is no set timetable for his return.
It would be very interesting to see if either the Knicks could climb up to the 3-seed or the Nets could climb up to the one-line before the end of the regular season, so we could have a potential all-New York showdown in the Eastern Conference semis.
Whatever happens, I’m just here for the pettiness. The NBA is always better with petty and when both of these teams are good, it only raises the stakes higher.