"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: knicks

New York State of Mind

Will Leitch on the Knicks trade and why New York teams fail:

The Knicks, essentially, not only took a contract albatross off Toronto’s hands — new GM Masai Ujiri was desperate to rid himself of the failed first overall pick — they paid the Raptors for the privilege. If the trade were just Camby and Novak for Bargnani, it would be a wash, two teams handing over each other’s soiled linens. But the Knicks threw in three draft picks because … well, because in New York, the future isn’t just something that doesn’t matter, it’s something to be actively avoided.

This has always been a thing in New York. For whatever reason, there is this sense among sports owners in New York City that rebuilding — or, rather to say, the process of compiling and amassing talent and resources that can be used to sustain perpetual success — is something that the fanbase will just not stand for. If your team is not competing for a championship that very year, obviously your franchise is a failure and unworthy to wear the words “New York” on the front of your jersey/uniform/sweater/hot pants.

This mindset leads to lunacy like just about every free agent acquisition the Mets have ever made — with the ironic exception of Carlos Beltran, the one many fans were the most angry about — or the Yankees giving Alex Rodriguez a 10-year contract or the Knicks trading for someone like Andrea freaking Bargnani. The logic behind the Bargnani trade, behind so many New York sports teams’ moves, is that if the move makes the team even slightly better today, it’s worth mortgaging whatever possible future there might be. Is having Bargnani on the team for the 2013-14 season better than having Camby and Novak? I find that an arguable point, but if the Knicks think so, and they do, then why not throw in three draft picks do make sure the deal goes down? We weren’t using them anyway! They’re draft picks!

So should the Yankees trade Robinson Cano, or what? They won’t but it’d be the ballsy move.

[Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

The Start of the Ending

The Knicks visit Indiana tonight for Game 6. They lose and their season is over. I wish I had faith in them. I wouldn’t be shocked if they win but I also wouldn’t put any money on it.

But I’ll be watching all the same.

Get ‘em, boys.

[Photo Via: Bread City]

For Real?

Guest Post

By Peter Richmond

As a fan of the Knicks ever since Phil Jackson donned a uniform, I really, really, really, really, really hope that @TheRealLJ2 is not the real Larry Johnson, former Hornet, former Knick, even though there’s nothing to indicate on his Twitter site that he isn’t. Photographs of the real LJ, and his wife, and pictures of Knicks, and running commentary on Knick games, and the Tweeter’s photo being a shot of Larry Johnson as a Knick — all of it indicates that if the tweeter isn’t the real Larry Johnson, @TheRealLJ2 is an incredibly deft and savvy LJ impersonator.

I do not hope that this is a fake site simply because of what he has tweeted in the last two days, albeit sort of ungrammatically (these are accurate transcriptions): “homosexuality is nothing to fear, I don’t think it belongs in a mans locker room”; “I’m attracted to women, is it ok for me to walk around a women’s locker room naked, and they be naked”; “I don’t Jason Collins personally but he seems like a great guy. Me personally gay men in the locked room would make me uncomfortable”; “Ppl ! this is nothing against Jason or homosexual’s,all I’m saying is this don’t belong in a man’s locker room”, and “I don’t judge anyone!! I have fallen short of the grace of Allah myself, but stop trying to make this acceptable.” (That one got 12 retweets.)

On the Wikipedia page for Larry Johnson the former Knick (“This article may contain wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information”) I discovered that LJ has recently converted to Islam. The Twitter site includes a posting about how bad it is to eat pork, which, well, it probably is, but, IMHO, not for religious reasons.

The Wiki site makes no mention of the fact that LJ reportedly sired five children by four different women. It does say he once signed a contract with the Charlotte Hornets for $84 million, which at that point was a record-breaker, and appeared in an episode of Family Matters. But none of that is really relevant to my point, I guess.

To be clear: If the tweeter is the real Larry Johnson, he has every constitutional right to air his assertions, although they seem a tad, um, dumb, because they seem to infer that a) when someone sees someone naked, the sight of said nudity is automatically arousing (he has apparently never been to the linemen’s corner in an NFL locker room, or the pitcher’s corner in an MLB locker room); b) that unlike heterosexual men, whose lives comprise balanced appetites, gay men think sex is the be-all and end-all to life, and that the sight of a genital would make them start frothing at the mouth, and quite likely be unable not to pounce upon the possessor of said genital; c) a real “man,” who should be the sole occupant of the inner sanctum of a locker room, is defined as a man capable of impregnating any woman who crosses his radar.

No, to be clear: What worries me, and not just as a Knick fan, is that the team’s website, as of 4/30/13, lists as “Business and Organization Representative” a man named Larry Johnson. And that the Wiki site mentioned that Johnson was now occupying said position. And that whatever that job title actually means, the word “Representative” implies that he is representing to someone, presumably outside of that manly locker room, The New York Knickerbockers.

I may be alone here, but, given recent occurrences, I do not think that he should be representing a basketball team when we seem to be taking the first steps toward turning a very important corner, gender-preference-in-sports-wise. Turning that corner may take decades, and it’s going to be like walking into a hurricane wind, but it’s sort of dumb for a team to be represented by a – excuse my German – Neanderthal. But that’s only if the tweeter is the actual Larry Johnson.

This morning, always (and probably deleteriously to my own career advancement) having always followed the Hippocratic Oath (“First, Do No Harm),” I e-mailed the Knick PR guy and apprised him of the circumstances.

He answered with one word: “Thanks.”

He did not say whether @TheRealLJ2 was Larry Johnson, but then, I hadn’t asked him. I wanted to be, like, a person first, and not a journalist. (Plus, as a journalist, who wants to piss off the PR guys if you need access for your next book?) And I figured that this was the first he’d heard of the situation.

And I really, really, really, really. really want to be believe that the tweeter isn’t the man we knew so humorously as “Grandmamma” in those Converse commercials. Even if I can’t help wondering whether the real LJ knows the grandmammas of those five kids.

So please, Knicks: Track down this imitator, threaten him with a lawsuit, and end this farce. Your “Representative” should not be saddled by the specter of an ignorant imitator haunting your employee. You’re having too cool a season to have an albatross like that hanging around your neck.

Just To Get a Rep

Real nice piece over at SB Nation’s Longform on the Branding of Brooklyn by Brandon K. Thorp:

Outside Modell’s on Oct. 3 stood an elderly black man almost entirely dressed up in precisely that blue and orange crap — a Knicks windbreaker over a Carmelo Anthony jersey over a white tee-shirt, and an old-timey New York Knicks cap that actually said “Knickerbockers.” This man’s name was, it happens, Oscar Modell. “No relation,” he said.

Modell lives in Bed Stuy, and always has. “I just took a walk to see [Barclays],” After he did a walk-around of the arena, Oscar said he’d go to Junior’s, in downtown Brooklyn, for a piece of cheesecake.

“This is looking real good here,” he said. “I never thought I’d see something like it. I look forward to seeing the Knicks beat the stuffing out of the Nets here.”

Asked why he, a lifelong Brooklynite, wouldn’t root for a Brooklyn basketball team, he laughed.

“Brooklyn doesn’t have a basketball team,” he said. “Brooklyn’s got an arena. But I read the boys on the Nets don’t even live in Brooklyn. They don’t even live in New York.”

This is true. The Nets mostly still live in Jersey, near their practice facility. Small forward Gerald Wallace remarked recently that he’d never move to Brooklyn; that he’s too frightened of New York City to ever live in it.

“The boys on the Knicks, maybe they’re not from New York, but at least they want to come here,” he said. “Just like people from all over the world want to come here. That makes it a hometown team. But the Nets? The Brooklyn Nets? The Brooklyn Nets is just a logo. Maybe one day it’ll be more than that, but not yet. Not for a long time.”

Here’s the Nets bandwagon: I ain’t on it.

It Fait Chaud

Knicks vs. Heat at the Garden this afternoon.

Like old times, sort of. The Heat have not played well lately. This’d be a huge game for the Knicks to win…

[Photo Via: Gruesome Twosome]

Back To It

Knicks at the Cavs. Git ‘em, boys.

[Illustration by Lauren Doughty]

Fit for a King

Bernard joins Clyde and Breen tonight to call the Knick game.

Hey Now.

Showtime

The Lakers are in town to play the Knicks tonight. They’ll have tired legs after beating the Celtics in overtime last night so the home team has a shot to win this game.

Let’s hope it’s a fun time.

Abandoning Ship

When is it okay to abandon your team?

I ask, of course, because of the Knicks.

Photo from the Daily News

I’m not really asking for myself, because I’m not a real Knicks fan. Baseball is my sport. In basketball, I’ve always been rather free with my affections. As a kid I watched the Bulls, because they were on TV a lot and because Michael Jordan. Then in the Patrick Ewing era I liked the Knicks, because I loved everything having to do with New York City. After the Yankees started winning so much I started to feel guilty about it and in the winter of 1999 adopted the Nets, who had always previously sucked, but they disappointed me by (briefly) not sucking during the Jason Kidd years. I moved to Brooklyn after college and went back to the Knicks. So I’m no model fan anyway, and I almost never go to games at Madison Square Garden, because I can’t afford it. But I still think in general terms it’s an interesting question.

Probably most of us would agree that you never bail on a team just because they’re lousy. I mean, you can, of course, but it’s unseemly. You stick it out — that’s a central tenant of what it means to be a fan. But players can be replaced or traded, and general managers can be fired. What about when the team’s ownership is inept, malignant, self-destructive, obnoxious and too flush with inherited billions to ever, ever be forced to sell? This weekend came the news, or at least the very strong rumors, that James Dolan is taking over and (probably – safe bet) bungling the Carmelo Anthony negotiations. And that Isiah Thomas is “consulting” or “advising” (when asked, he refused to say) and calling the shots and not ruling out a return to a prominent role with the Knicks.

I’m not a lifelong die-hard Knicks rooter like so many New Yorkers, and right now I’m glad. Because if Isiah Thomas returns to any kind of meaningful role with the team, I’m done with this team. How many times does he have to demonstrate that, although he was a great player, he is an abysmal coach and GM? (To say nothing of his unfortunate tendencies towards sexual harassment). How can James Dolan possibly be both that oblivious and that contemptuous of Knicks fans? And since he clearly is, why would we ever expect him to change at this point?

The Nets are moving fifteen minutes from my apartment in a year and a half. They have returned to their usual suckiness, and I hate the way they bullied and bribed that new stadium through. And yet. You can say what you want about Jay-Z – but, damn it, he would never in a million years put up with this Isiah Thomas crap.

Anyway, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. When is it okay to ditch your team? If you’re a Knicks fan, do you have a breaking point – and if so, have you reached it yet? If not, what would it take?

Dunk or Dunked?

 

What I don’t know from professional hoops is more than somewhat. Still, as a casual fan, I just don’t see the Knicks’ splashy signing of Amare Stoudemire as anything but a prelude to more disappointment at the Garden. Maybe I’m jaded by all these years of Dolan depression. Amare strikes me as the guy you’d ideally want to be the third-best player on your team, not the guy you build around. He is a stud, he is a good player but he also feels like Plan B.

I’m curious to know just how much better he is than David Lee (he’s better for sure, don’t get me wrong). Anyhow, unless he lures a couple of more stars to town–preferably a point guard–this could be the start of something familiar. To be fair, it is too soon to judge this signing. I just hope it is the start of something…better, for the Knicks and their fans, and not just another re-run. It’s still early…

Am I crazy? Am I mising something?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver