Tag Archives: sports history

They Hate Me: Western NY’s Toxic Back and Forth Relationship with Basketball

Pravin commented earlier this week on my treatise on New York State sports fandom with a great question on basketball in Western New York:

And where does basketball fit into all of this? Is there a particular team that people in Western New York prefer to root for? I’d imagine that the Knicks–not even factoring in their past seven seasons of futility–represent everything that upstaters hate about downstate. There is the connection between the old Buffalo Braves and L.A. Clippers, but not even the most ardent fan of the A.B.A. would retain that kind of loyalty.

Now, I have been in quite a few relationships in my day, including some of those of the on-and-off, back and forth, toxic variety.  (Who hasn’t in their day?  The degrees of severity vary, but everyone’s had at least one.)  But none come close to the toxic back and forth relationship that professional basketball has had with my home region of Western New York.  Professional basketball took Western New York and toyed with its emotions – “You want an NBA Championship? Here you go. Oh, wait – you aren’t “big enough” to support professional sports!  Sorry, let’s move the team away.” – until a whole generation and their children decided enough was enough, and ceased following the NBA all together.

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Filed under Boston Celtics, Buffalo New York, Rochester NY, sports culture, sports history, Syracuse NY, Upstate New York, Western New York