The New York Knicks are a franchise with a very storied past. You ask any New Yorker over the age of 45 and they will tell you the great memories of the 70s Knickerbockers starring Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave DeBuscherre, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, and the like. Those were teams of New York legend; they won the hearts of a generation and produced a sense civic pride. Seasoned Knicks fans will also talk about the Patrick Ewing era, which despite being devoid of an NBA title, was an exciting stretch of basketball for the Big Apple and a team in which they could take pride. The Knicks of the past were a staple NBA franchise that encapsulated the New York-Metro area and were relevant.
That’s what my parents grew up with — relevance. The Knicks were a relevant and widely respected franchise. What have I, a Knicks fan in his 20s, gotten from the Knicks? No such relevance. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. My favorite Knick of all time was Latrell Sprewell, not because I like to root for thugs or misfits that put on a jersey, but because, to me, he was the best player on the only Knicks team I remember being beyond dreadfully disappointing. Since that 8th seed shocked the world, the Knicks have been the most dysfunctional franchise in the league (sans the Clippers).
For thirteen years the Knicks have been a downright embarrassment to the city of New York. Bonehead hirings, terrible contracts, multiple let-downs, sexual harassment accusations, all compounded by having arguably the worst owner in sports. Collectively those factors have made a decade of NBA spectating rather deflating for the city that never sleeps.
Then suddenly, in the wake of an upsetting split with the 23-year-old international sweetheart, Jeremy Lin, here come the Nets sporting their sexy new Brooklyn tag, some star power in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, easily accessible tickets, and an owner that doesn’t warrant this being played every time he crawls out of the dark hole he inhabits to address the media.
If you’re a Knicks fan of the Millennial or AO Generation, what reason has James Dolan given you to root for his team? I got nothing.
Every year, instead of putting a decent team on the court, the James Dolan Knicks have ridden the coattails of teams long-past. It’s essentially been like rooting for a highlight reel, and a grainy one at that.
New York isn’t getting any better, either:
-The Knicks brought on the over-the-hill gang in Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas. 39-year-old Kidd with his "staggering" 6 points and 5 rebound average per game will be coming off the bench to back up Raymond Felton, Camby is well past his prime, and Thomas IS the oldest player in the league (due to be 40). Even if this group can stay healthy, how effective is a group with a mean age of 39 going to be?
-The odds of Amar’e Stoudemire staying healthy? Slim to none. If the back doesn’t get aggravated, his plexiglass knees will.
-As for Melo? He’s never going to cease being a ball-stopper, it’s just who he is.
-Massive contracts to Stoudemire, Anthony, and Chandler have effectively barred the Knicks from making a run at premiere players in the near future.
What made basketball an exception is the lack of an alternative to the Knicks; New Yorkers were stuck with them. That has all changed now.
What we’re facing here is a pivotal moment in New York Sports history. If this AARP sponsored Knicks lineup fails while the Nets find success, many of the casual and younger New York fans will jump ship faster than a French sailor circa 1940. And can you really blame them?
Yes, there are some die-hards that find switching teams inconceivable and borderline heretical, but the fact remains, a lot of New Yorkers (and people in general, really) tend to be front-runners. They root for whichever local team is currently winning, as evidenced by the sudden spike in New York Jets fans from 2009-2011 and the subsequent decline resulting from the Giants’ Super Bowl ring in 2012. What made basketball an exception is the lack of an alternative to the Knicks; New Yorkers were stuck with them. That has all changed now. The Nets offer an out from the maddening vice of an awful owner, the confetti showers for single playoff wins, inexcusable TV contract disputes, terrible personnel moves, and playing second-fiddle to Boston (basketball-wise) for the better part of the last fifteen years.
Me personally, I’m staying a Knicks fan because I evidently like pain. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to condemn those that inevitably change their allegiance in the next few seasons. Because, quite frankly, fans deserve better than the swirling vortex of suck that has been the New York Knicks.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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