NEW YORK - Instantly labeled the underdog of the NBA 2K League postseason, Knicks Gaming went overlooked on every step of the team's regular season battle to the Finals.
But the team focused on its motto: One. One team, one dream, one goal.
Knicks Gaming completed that goal as it swept Heat Check Gaming 2-0 (69-66, 74-71) to become the inaugural NBA 2K League champions.
Knicks Gaming hoisted the first championship trophy for the Knicks organization since 1973.
Relishing in the team's unbelievable journey, Eric "YEYnotgaming" Ward, who had 28 points in both games, and Dayvon "G O O F Y 7 5 7" Curry, who finished the night with a combined 30 points and 23 rebounds, described how Knicks small forward Idris "IdrisDaGoat6" Richardson never doubted his team's chances in the playoffs.
"Since THE TICKET, I've been having these visions," G O O F Y 7 5 7 said. "I didn't know my vision for this championship, but [IdrisDaGoat6] said 2-0 sweep."
With a tough 5-out isolation opponent ahead of him, Knicks power forward and finals MVP Nathaniel "NateKahl" Kahl shouldered the difficult task of guarding Heat Check's key offensive powerhouse Juan "Hotshot" Gonzalez.
Prior to Saturday night's series, Hotshot averaged 50.3 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds during the playoffs. As the game approached, NateKahl embraced the challenge. He studied the 5-out offense and Hotshot's gameplay for hours each day leading up to the event.
His defensive efforts in the first game and the second's final stretch gave Knicks Gaming the momentum it needed to successfully stop Heat Check. Hotshot was held to under 50 points in both games.
"When you're playing isolation basketball, the degree of difficulty it takes to come back ... when you're down nine, 10 or 11 ...we've never done it before," NateKahl said. "That was the first time that had ever happened."
But Knicks Gaming has become no stranger to firsts.
In the regular season, the Knicks finished 14th overall, which would have otherwise removed the team from playoff contention. However, Knicks Gaming won THE TICKET tournament as the 15th seed, completing four back-to-back upsets to earn an automatic bid to playoffs.
Even with that berth secured, the team still needed to prepare for its next opponent, which was the top-seeded Blazer5 Gaming. Once again, the Knicks showed up big in that first round match and took down the Goliath.
New Jersey native Adam "iamadamthe1st" Kudeimati, who had a total of 46 points and 21 assists between the two finals games, said this team's passion and tenacity stemmed from being a part of the entire Knicks organization and the support of the fans that stood by them each and every week.
"We have the best fans in the world," iamadamthe1st said, describing the late rally the team made in the second game. "If we could get a stop, we knew they would be right behind us.
"We've got the heart of a champion -- that New York grit -- and did what we have to do."
Coach Kyle "LetsBallUp_" Rudy said this grit as his team's heart made Knicks Gaming stand out from the rest.
"We have six guys and myself who all love hanging out with each other," LetsBallUp_ said. "We really are one big family, and we've been able to have amazing moments across the season. ... This is something that we're going to take for an entire lifetime.
"It really is just the beginning for us."