Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city.
The team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts. Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter.
It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became the head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman successfully guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973. The Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success that included six playoff appearances; however, they failed to participate in the NBA Finals.
The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing; this era was marked by passionate rivalries with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era.
Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former successes, but won their first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. They were eventually eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Indiana Pacers, and had failed to make the playoffs for eight years until 2020–21.