These are bizarre times in Knicks Land where Stephon Marbury is the one making the most sense. It wasn’t long ago that Starbury was eating Vaseline and getting all of his coaches fired. But a decade after setting fire to Madison Square Garden, the New York City hoops prodigy tweeted some perspective into the current Knicks disaster.
“Times will be like this until they release that negative energy. When the top ain’t right nothing ain’t right!”
“It’s about selling seats, popcorn and beer. The garden is a cash cow. The fans will continue to be bamboozled sadly”
There is double-negative truth from the horse’s mouth, who was more of a horse’s ass during his time in the Big Apple. The Knicks release a toxic stench from James Dolan’s courtside seats most nights, and the MSG conglomerate has always appeared a money-printing dictatorship. There are friends of the Garden and there are enemies. And the latter shall be shunned, stiff-armed, and forced to watch “Red Storm Report” throughout eternity. Although, distance from the grease fire at 4 Penn Plaza is actually the more enjoyable fate these days.
The latest tragic comedy has all the ingredients Knicks fans have come to know and loathe. Unhappy players. Overwhelmed coaching. Unstable front office. Daily tabloid fodder. The natives are restless, as they have been for most of forty years. And they know shlock basketball when they see it (they have a Ph.D in this by now). The papers feast on the Knicks perpetual dysfunction. Talk radio grinds it into a fine powder. And when the dust settles, it always looks the same. The Knicks seem to be moving farther away from their first parade since Nixon’s trip to China.
Which, ironically, is where Marbury found basketball salvation. He only needed to move nearly 7,000 miles away from the smouldering Knicks mess. The fans should no longer be bamboozled, however. If you still believe the franchise is in the right hands after 20 years of bat guano that’s your own fault. There was Pat Riley’s resignation by fax, Isiah Thomas’ 5-year waking nightmare, Eddie Curry’s waistline, Larry Brown’s meltdown, Derek Fisher’s tryst… all while James Dolan slept at center court. If you hold optimism about this franchise you probably watched Mad Max assuming it would end in a romantic wedding with Hugh Grant in Cabo.
The problem has always been Dolan’s unceasing paranoia about his allies and foes, churning insecurity over his basketball naivete, and his overreaction to the slightest of issues. Donnie Walsh, once upon a time, resuscitated the Zeke wreckage and miraculously built something positive. But he locked horns with Jimmy Harmonica over Carmelo’s price tag, which meant Walsh had to be ejected from the vehicle. That meant entering another cycle of cataclysm. And that meant Isiah now could re-enter the picture, because why wouldn’t you welcome back the most toxic name in franchise history?
Is Phil Jackson the savior or merely the latest charlatan dressed as Knicks Moses? You can never tell if these highly-paid resurrectors are in it for the right reasons or merely cashing the check as a vanity job. That’s because Dolan’s integrity radar is as faulty as a Cablevision DVR. Is the Zen Master setting his Crocs into the Manhattan dirt, or just riffing in an iPhone memo half-blazed from Manhattan Beach? The magic in Knicks Land is you never know.
The Knicks have a young, exciting star in Porzingis. But they also have an embattled Melo, a Band-Aid coach, a middling roster, and the heaping impatience of fans and media. Should Melo have upstaged his owner in front of a heckler? Should the organization have forced him to apologize? Should Amare not have aired dirty laundry? Should Melo have embraced Lin-sanity? These must be the questions patients at Mount Sinai’s psych ward utter all day long.
Because the Knicks have and always will drive the town batty. There is still a mystique surrounding the franchise because of those magnificent teams of Clyde, Bradley, Pearl and Willis. MSG is still full of celebrities, because it’s Manhattan, the building is pretty, and the Nets just don’t bring that Big Apple sizzle. It’s humorous to watch the Knicks snake eat its tail day after day, year after year. New Yorkers consider themselves clear-eyed, street smart, and able to pick out the street hustlers. Yet, the Knicks organization has played three-card monte on its fans for twenty years, and there’s still outrage when that hand reaches into their pockets. We should know the game by now. Seems the only one who does is Stephon Marbury.
D.A. hosts 6-10pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.