Last month, Los Angeles Lakers all-star forward Anthony Davis made headlines when he dubbed the city of Chicago as the Mecca of Basketball. Since then, several NBA players from the Chicago area have weighed in on the subject, including Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, guard Patrick Beverley, and NBA legend Tim Hardway Sr. have all stated that Chicago is the mecca of basketball.
“It is. We’ve got the best basketball players ever. You look at the history with all the guys we’ve got that made the league and even the guys that didn’t make the league. They say New York, but it’s not even close.”
However, someone that is also from Chicago, but disagrees with Davis is Atlanta Hawks forward, Jabari Parker. He named New York as the Mecca and tells Fanatics View’s Kelly McGill why. After the Hawks beat the Golden State Warriors 104-79 at home.
“Negative,” said Parker. “No, I don’t agree with it because, in order to be the mecca of basketball, you have to be there and have events the whole year, right? Not just the NBA season, you got to have it in the summertime. Throughout the summer, we have been too inconsistent not having events, not having Pro-AMs not having places and camps where kids can play it just goes on. I think New York will forever be the Mecca because no matter how cold it is, they will have five people outside playing basketball. Yeah, that’s just the truth,” Parker said.
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Legendary Photographer George Kalinsky Shares Why New York City Is the Mecca of Basketball
During a February 11, 2015 interview with the New York Post’s George Willis spoke with George Kalinsky, who is a Madison Square Garden photographer revealed New York is the mecca of basketball because of MSG.
“It’s called the Mecca of basketball because of the history of the Garden,” said famed photographer George Kalinsky, whose lens has captured everything from Ali-Frazier to Derek Fisher. “It’s called that because of not only what’s happening today, which is great, but it’s because of all the many great things that have happened in Madison Square Garden. There’s no stage that has the aura of Madison Square Garden.”
The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and the Chicago Bulls all have more championships than the two championship banners that they have won. Still, the world’s most famous arena has seen every Grammy award-winning musician, Oscar award-winning actor/ actress, and every NBA and College basketball player that has put on a show.
For example, Hall of Famer and former Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller made a living break Knick fans’ hearts specifically Spike Lee’s heart in the early 90s. On June 1, 1994, Miller put on a shooting clinic against the Knicks scoring 25 in the fourth quarter and taunted Oscar Award Winning Director Spike Lee after every basket. In August of 2015, Jack McCallum wrote a piece in Sports Illustrated in celebration of Miller’s 50th birthday.
“You gotta understand, this is a little tough for me,” Miller told McCallum. “Not this particular game, of course, but memories of the whole series. I don’t like to think about it.”
“On that night, in the fourth period, the Pacer guard changed the weather pattern in New York City by raining jump shot after jump shot upon the heads of the dazed Knicks,” McCallum wrote.
“Game 5 confirmed Miller’s status as the league’s premier practitioner of the ancient art of jump shooting…He made jumpers from both sides of the court, off the dribble and from behind screens, in heavy congestion and far from the madding crowd. One of his three-pointers was a what-the-hell heave from about 27 feet, but it was still a classic Miller jumper, arms extended above the head, elbow on the shooting arm (the right) slightly askew, eyes following the ball.”