The New York Knicks have always held a special place in my sports heart.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier…Willis Reed…Dave DeBusschere…Patrick Ewing…Charles Oakley…Allan Houston..The “dunk”…LJ’s magical 3…Willis against the Lakers…it’s been a long long stretch between championship seasons but with the arrival of Phil “the Zen Master” Jackson, it seemed like the light at the end of the tunnel was shining a bit brighter. And why not? 12 Championships makes for a pretty impressive resume. Of course he had Michael and Scottie and Kobe and Shaq, not to mention Cartwright and Paxson and Rodman and Fisher and Gasol etc etc etc etc .
Let me state that I am not one of these Knick fans losing their mind at the current state of affairs. Am I amazed by the futility? yes I am. Am I astounded by the inability to finish games? To play defense? To make the big shot? Frankly …yes I am. It’s no secret this team is flawed. It’s no secret that there is little or nor scoring punch after Carmelo Anthony and when your best defensive player is a 30-something guard, the chances for success are limited indeed particularly after they traded Tyson Chandler, a defensive force in the middle.
But there are professional players on this team. Stoudemire is old and beat up but he has played well and is a hard working example for young players. JR Smith, the enigma, is only a year removed from the sixth man award. Iman Shumpert? Tim Hardaway Jr? Not exactly a hall of fame caliber roster but 5 and 26?? Are you kidding me? Maybe Derek Fisher is in over his head? Some of his moves have been perplexing but we all must remember that Fisher is only a season away from playing. Though he has been a champion several times and an articulate and intelligent basketball mind, he is still a rookie in a market that is incredibly unforgiving. A market that has lost all patience with losing. This is a market that has limped through the follies of Isaiah Thomas…the Larry Brown saga…the Donnie Walsh era and the head scratching firing of Glenn Grunwald… the numerous, ridiculous decisions of owner Jim Dolan. This fan base has had enough. And yet I am willing to go through this miserable season in the hopes that Phil Jackson can deliver on his Christmas message when he said via Twitter, “#knicknation Merry Christmas to all and Peace on earth. Please be assured your hopes and wishes are getting through to Santa. He will bring #knicknation a better 2015 than 14. The effort and skill of our team will grow as the players learn how to play with and for each other.”
I could be wrong but I think Santa Phil has a pretty good handle on what has to happen in New York before these Knicks can win a championship. Even though we are mired in an absurd low-light of a season, I do believe the franchise will rise again in the next couple of years.