Outside of the Rangers, a pair of talented rookies and an emotional goodbye to a Yankees legend, 2014 was a year to forget for New York sports. For many fans, New Year’s Day can’t come soon enough.
Fortunately, 2015 looks to be a better year. Here are a few of the sports highlights heading the Big Apple’s way in ’15.
NBA All-Star Weekend
The association will take over Manhattan and Brooklyn on Valentine’s Day weekend. The Garden will play host to the All-Star Game — also known as the most entertaining-yet-meaningless game of the year — and festivities such as the Slam Dunk Contest will go on at Barclays Center a day earlier. Although Carmelo Anthony may be the only Knick or Net in the game — and that’s no lock — the city hasn’t hosted the event since Michael Jordan and the Bulls were dominating the league. It’s a rare treat.
New York City FC
Sure, the New York Red Bulls are a New York team, but they play in New Jersey. A second New York MLS franchise, NYCFC, will debut in the spring and play its home games at Yankee Stadium. Yes, they’re an expansion team, so they may experience the growing pains that come along with being a new club. But for soccer fans who couldn’t get enough of the World Cup over the summer, traveling to a pro soccer match now will be as easy as hopping on the subway.
Matt Harvey’s return
The upcoming season may be the “wait ’til next year” for which Mets fans have been yearning, and Matt Harvey is a big reason why. The ace will return from Tommy John surgery after missing all of 2014, and he’ll be joined by one of the most talented young pitching staffs in the majors. Couple that with some improvements on offense, such as the signing of Michael Cuddyer, and the Mets might be playing October baseball for the first time since 2006.
Islanders to B’klyn
The “New York” in New York Islanders will refer to New York City for the first time in the fall, when the franchise leaves Nassau Coliseum for Barclays Center. The move has been years in the making, and will give Brooklyn two teams after having zero major franchises from 1958 until 2012. The timing couldn’t be better for borough residents; the Isles finally are emerging from a two-decade slump and currently are near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.