We are nearing the end of a long season, so we thought it would be fun to look back at Knicks fans favorite experiences. This article was written by member if New York Knicks Nation Germany Austria. They attended the Knicks game in London together.
The article is translated from German, so forgive any minor grammatical mistakes.
Part I – Wednesday
“Even a day before the actual game I already know that this London trip isn’t primarily
about watching the Knicks play basketball, this is about friendship.” By Fabian
BONN, GERMANY. The alarm clock rings at 3:00 am, it takes just a few seconds and I’m
wide awake. The big day is here. I’m about to board a plane to London where I’m going to
watch the New York Knicks face the Washington Wizards. There’s just one more aspect
about this: I’m going to make this trip being part of a group of 52 Germans and I haven’t seen any of them in person before. I’m aware that this might sound desparate or insane to you, but let me explain.
There’s just one thing you need to know about sports in Germany: Soccer.
This is a country where parents make their kids join the local soccer club as soon as they’re
able to walk without help. This is a country where you discuss the latest Bundesliga news
with your friends, your colleagues, even with your dentist or your mailman. This is also a
country where a majority of the population probably has never heard of LeBron James. So, if you’re born and raised in Germany and you happen to be a die hard New York Knicks fan,
F*CK YES, you’re boarding this plane to London to watch the game with 52 strangers that for whatever reason share the same passion as you.
It’s hard to believe, but during the one hour flight from Cologne to London and the following transfer to the hotel, I am – for the first time in my life – speaking to other Knicks fans face-to-face. The entire crew comes together at a burger restaurant in London, where we’ve agreed to have lunch.
For me, this is the opportunity to finally get to know these guys. Everybody is in a great mood and enjoying the moment despite supporting a team that has been trash for two decades. After an hour of conversations, discussions, jokes and fun, it almost feels as if
we’ve known each other for years. Although we’re all coming from different areas of
Germany with diverse backgrounds, we’re united in orange and blue. I realize how much this franchise means to every single one of them.
After lunch, about 15 of us meet at the hotel in London, where the Knicks stay for their trip. Practice has just finished and we hope to get a glimpse of some players when they arrive back at the hotel. Unfortunately, the team bus needs another two hours to make it through traffic and – of course – it’s freezing cold and raining the whole time.
That’s the moment where my body reminds me that I’ve only slept 3 hours. In the end, the wait was worth it. As soon as the players see these chilled through and rain-drenched fans in Knicks gear, they come over and take time to take some pictures and write autographs.
The first day in London ends with dinner and beer at a local pub. Everybody fights their
tiredness, because it’s just fun to be around each other. Even a day before the actual game I already know that this London trip isn’t primarily about watching the Knicks play basketball, this is about friendship.
Part II – Thursday
“Like a little kid at Christmas, I am happy about each one, about every welcome,
about every hug. Now I know what it feels like to be part of something great.“ By Daniel
Good morning, London! Getting up knowing we’re gonna see the New York Knicks players
live in a few hours within the circle of the Knicks Nation family: Can there be anything better?
A few months ago, it was just an idea. The idea became reality. The fan club was born and
barely a few months later, we’re flying to London with 52 members. That’s incredible and this afternoon, I will finally realize how unbelievable it really feels.
We start the day in proper style with an English breakfast at the Breakfast Club (literally a
breakfast club at Canary Wharf) with bones, french fries, roasted sausages and coffee. Not
necessarily my preference to start the day but ok … Strengthened and motivated, we make
our way to the city center of London to hit the Mitchell&Ness store, the Nike store and the
Footlocker store. By the way, The new Nike lace-less shoes are amazing.
Shortly after, it’s finally time: We’re going to meet Tray and Terry from the United States! You all know them. In the middle of the Tower Bridge, in freezing cold and stormy wind, we fall into each other’s arms, happy about our first meeting. For me, this is the first highlight that day – meeting these two in person. During the following interview session at the City Hall, Terry and Tray ask questions about the founding of the fan club, our opinions on the current squad and expectations for the future.
Still, the absolute highlight was yet to come: The gathering of all New York Knicks Nation
Germany/Austria members who came to London!!!
Why a highlight? Well, I’ve never met the majority of them, including many founding
members. Like a little kid at Christmas, I am happy about each one, about every welcome, about every hug. Now I know what it feels like to be part of something great. We, the NY
KNICKS NATION GER/AUT, made history with our group photo. The first and only official fan
club of an American basketball franchise in German-speaking countries set an example,
paving the way for the future.
Many thanks to all participants, who made this trip a personal highlight in my life!
Part III – Thursday / The Game + Friday
“Hard to believe, but our next appointment is the game […] it’s really the game.“
Hard to believe, but our next appointment is THE GAME, I‘m just saying to Daniel, it’s really THE GAME. After all we’ve done in the last 36 hours in London, it’s THE GAME. We just met Terry and Trey, maybe the nicest Americans I’ve ever met – by the way, they are mother and son – we took the group picture in front of the tower bridge (with all 52 German Knicks fans), and now a group of us is walking to the underground station. Next stop: the o2.
As we’re leaving North Greenwich station my heart begins to beat a bit faster. I’m getting
nervous – for the first time I’m gonna see my Knicks in an NBA game. I’ve been to summer
league in vegas 2014, but this is an NBA game and I’m really about to see Frank Ntilikina,
Mitchell Robinson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and all the other players play. Entering the o2, I can’t
help myself but feeling like I’m in a giant mall. If you’ve ever been to the o2, you probably
know what I mean. 5.30 pm.
Great news even before the game: Our president Joe has finally managed to arrive at the arena. Just six hours ago, he missed his flight in Salzburg, Austria and had to drive to Munich to take a flight there to be in London in time. And there he is … in the arena. In time! 6 pm. As appointed, our group begins to prepare for the interview with the
German sports TV station DAZN. The interview was fun, our two executives Daniel and
Daniel talked about the club.
I still remember the time at the arena right before the game as an accumulation of bizarre incidents: us meeting the French Knicks, some of us taking a picture with the former German soccer player Per Mertesacker, me eating all my cookies at once – because I couldn’t take them inside the arena, Fabian making an interview for
6.30 pm. We’re inside the actual arena – finally! As we’re taking the escalator, which
apparantly never gonna end, I feel excited … and hungry. So Daniel and I decide to buy a
hotdog and a beer. The beer was great!
So there we are, all 52 members on our seat in section 420 D. A feeling hard to capture with words. It turns out that I sit between Daniel and Daniel. The game can begin.
The o2 arena is very quiet! So we decide to start some chants like Go NY, Go NY, Go! or
Defense!. We even start some Happy Birthday- chants for Allonzo Trier. The Knicks play well in the first half – they get nervous in the second an as it comes down to the final shot for the Wizards, everyone of us is standing nervously. We all know the result. Admittedly, it was close – but still goaltend.
On Friday, our last day of the trip, we decide that it is time for a good old fashioned
sightseeing tour. So Fabian, Muhammed, Sven and I visit Big Ben, Buckingham Palace,
Picadilly Circus before we wind up in sports stores on Oxford Street, where Sven buys some
shoes for his girlfriend.
It was a great trip. I’m really thankful for all we have experienced in London, for all the Knicks fans I met. Big thanks to all the other members who’ve been part of the trip! One thing is sure: we will come back!