The most interesting question in basketball at this moment, lexicographically speaking, has to do with the New York Knickerbockers. (Sorry, LeBron James.) Now, before you start throwing knickknacks at your computer screen, indulge a brief explanation.
Knickerbocker was a common surname among the Dutch colonists of New York way back when it was New Amsterdam. The wonderful early American writer Washington Irving famously used it as a pseudonym in his “History of New York,” and Knickerbocker has since been another way of describing a New Yorker. So, unlike some sport team names which make no sense, the Knicks is rich with Big Apple history.
Should the New York Knicks be wearing knickers? The “loose-fitting short trousers gathered in at the knees” or “bloomerslike undergarment worn by women” are indeed a shortened form of knickerbocker. One theory claims that the garment was named after the illustrations in the above-mentioned Washington Irving book. Then again, this brief explanation risks turning into a linguistic knickknackatory — “a collection of knickknacks.” So consider this the end before we reach the proverbial knickpoint.
Back to Top