Saturday, April 19, 2008

NYKnicks Blues

I'm starting this at exactly 3:45 a.m. The playoffs begin in precisely 8 hours and 45 minutes, with the Washington Wizards beginning their slow, self-afflicted execution at the hands of The King. This is the same man demigod that flaunted his superpowers because Chris Bosh's girlfriend started talking trash to him. What do you think he's going to do to the team that he's dismissed for two consecutive years; and yet they still feel superior to him? I apologize, I had to get that out the way. Mute your players next time, Eddie.

I think I'm over the shock that the Golden State Warriors won't be visible this spring; so I'm going to shift my attention to the other franchise that takes residence in the chaos dimension that is my heart: the New York Knickerbockers. I've been a fan of this team ever since I summited NBA Jam on Sega Genesis, using the tandem of Starks and Ewing. As you basketball fans know, Donnie Walsh did the inevitable and officially ended the Isiah Thomas era. A slight elation has overtaken the Big Apple, and the first step to a turnaround appears to have been made. However, if Knicks fans—or basketball fans/purists, for that matter—believe that this franchise will immediately rise from the cellar, they're sadly mistaken. I'm going to reveal my letter that I wrote would write to the Knicks. Written as I cool out to The Roots' "Illadelph Halflife" album; the one that changed my life and musical perspective...

[4:41 a.m. - The Roots "Respond/React" playing on the Windows Media Player]

Dear Everyone Affiliated with the Knicks:

This season has been the most trying in our relationship since we used flaming basketballs to reach the top of the first ever 2-on-2 full-court arena tournament with real NBA players (read: NBA Jam). That was the high point of our time together; and it came in 1993. Since then, we've had some good times: a string of playoff appearances, and...wait, that's it (Oh, there's this). But I would like to talk about the down times...

(Warning Knicks fans: There will be video evidence. Don't click the hyperlinks if you can't bear it.)

...I managed to keep you in my heart through the numerous disappointments I've suffered while being a part of your support system. I stuck by you through Charles Smith's softness under the basket in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. I forgave you for not benching John Starks for shooting 2-for-18 from the field (including 0-for-11 3's plus the game-winner) in Game Seven of the 1994 NBA Finals. It was tough, but I forgave you for letting Reggie Miller score eight points in sixteen seconds in 1995. I don't even count the 1999 Finals as a failure because you were an #8 seed and that was an incredible run—without Pat for most of the series; and because leaving Avery Johnson open was normally a safe bet in those days.

There's more. I forgave you for signing Allan Houston's jumper to $100 million over giving Spree's everything that same consideration. I turned the other cheek when you traded for Antonio McDyess and his fragile knees. I even forgave you for Frederick Weis, only because it allowed for this piece of poster history to exist. So you see, I've stuck with you through a lot. The Zeke regime was definitely a test of my commitment to you—to us. I was six years old when we started, so it's natural for a man to outgrow his puppy dog crush and move on to a more mature, stable companion. But I didn't. There is no reason for the team in the country's biggest market to be this terrible; and not just terrible, but that Charles Barkley, "turrble." You have nearly erased what NBA Jam built. From the sexual harassment lawsuit to Zach Randolph's, "defense," this season was the lowest of the low in franchise history. You have no one to arbitrarily blame for your mistakes like the Warriors have (Webber...). It's all on you.

[5:24 a.m. - The Roots - UNIverse At war feat. Common on the Player]

I contemplated for a long time about severing ties with you forever, and being firmly entrenched as a Wizards fan. But, for some reason, I just can't seem to leave you alone. Just when I think I'm going to cross that thin line of love and make my way to the other side, you pull me back. Trust me, it's not because of on-the-court reasons; because outside of David Lee, Ronaldo Balkman, and Wilson Chandler, no one shows consistent evidence of caring about our success. Every time I think of leaving you for good, visions of me pressing Turbo + Shoot and waiting for the, "Boom-Shakalaka!" fill my thoughts; and I'm right back to choosing you as my NBA Live/NBA 2k Series franchise to dominate the modern video game circuit.

I'm begging you, for the sake of my childhood, to please turn it around. Relieving Isiah of his duties was a start, but we need more. Trade the Fat Boys, relegate Q to the bench, fix the draft to get Derrick Rose (not Eric Gordon), and we'll go from there. The NBA has been known to allow for franchises to come full circle; as evidenced by Atlanta's semi-resurgence. Right now, I can't quit you; but I don't know how much more failure my heart can take. I don't want to see another Night at the Starbury...


[5:43 a.m. A repeating of The Roots - "No Alibi" on the Player]

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