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Madison Square Garden - The Mecca of Basketball

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Madison Square Garden

The exterior of Madison Square Garden, the self-styled "World's Most Famous Arena"

Getty Images / Mario Tama

Venue:

Madison Square Garden, also known as "MSG," "The Garden," or, if you believe their press, "The World's Most Famous Arena"

Location:

33rd Street and 7th Avenue
New York, NY
Map and Satellite View

Madison Square Garden is in the heart of midtown Manhattan, just down the street from Macy's Herald Square and the Empire State Building. It sits atop Penn Station, one of the largest commuter hubs in the United States.

It is not in -- or even near -- Madison Square.

Home of:

MSG annually plays host to the pre and post-season NIT, the Jimmy V Classic, and the Big East Tournament, and a host of other big games during any given year.

It is home court to the St. John's Red Storm, as well as the NBA's New York Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers and the WNBA's New York Liberty.

It is also a major entertainment venue, hosting hundreds of concerts and other performances every year.

I played here:

It would be difficult to find a player of any note that hasn't played in Madison Square Garden. The most significant names to call the Garden home would be Lou Carnesecca's great St. John's teams of the 80s, led by Chris Mullin, Walter Berry, Bill Wennington and Mark Jackson -- who would also play home games at MSG in a New York Knicks uniform.

Factor in the Big East conference games and the annual Big East Tournament and all the tournaments hosted by MSG and the list becomes too long to consider -- and that doesn't even factor in games at the NBA or high school levels.

Featured In:

How many arenas have their own TV network? The MSG Network was one of the first regional sports networks, and it continues to carry Knick and Ranger games as well as some Big East contests.

From a pop-culture perspective, my favorite MSG moment is in the Eddie Murphy classic Coming to America involving a double-date at a St. John's game. Say it with me: "Yes! In the face!"

Profile:

How did Madison Square Garden become one of the most significant venues in college basketball history? You know the old saying about real estate... "Location, location, location."

Before SportsCenter and 24/7 coverage of college sports on the Internet, playing in New York -- media capital of the nation -- was the best way for college basketball teams to get press. That's one of the big reasons why the NIT was a bigger deal than the NCAA Tournament for years -- while the NCAA was the official championship, the NIT was played under the brightest lights.

The NIT has lost some of its luster -- and in recent years, so has MSG's primary college hoops tenant, the St. John's Red Storm, but Madison Square Garden remains one of the most significant arenas in college basketball. Annually, the Garden hosts the Preseason NIT finals, the Jimmy V Classic, the Holiday Festival and the Big East Tournament. In recent years, the Garden has also played host to neutral-site games featuring schools like Duke, seeking to make inroads into the fertile New York recruiting scene -- or the lucrative New York alumni base.

The Garden's name comes from its original home, which was the north side of Madison Square Park on Madison Avenue at 26th Street. The current building is actually the fourth to bear the Madison Square Garden name. It opened in 1968.

The building is now in the midst of a massive, top-to-bottom renovation that should be complete in time for the 2012-13 NBA and NHL seasons. The work is being scheduled to minimize disruption to the Knicks and Rangers, but the WNBA's New York Liberty will play their home games in Newark while work is being done.

On November 2, 2010, a game between the Knicks and Orlando Magic was postponed when debris from the Garden's ceiling was inadvertently released into the arena and seating area, raising concerns about the presence of asbestos. New York City officials called the scare a "false alarm" and declared the arena safe.

Madison Square Garden is owned by Cablevision, the cable/internet provider and media conglomerate that also owns the Knicks and Rangers.

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