New York Knicks fans haven't had much to cheer about so far this season.
UPDATED: by Zach Buckley on Nov. 5 at 1:45 p.m. ET
Fear not, Knicks fans, your beloved Knicks City Dancers may not be going anywhere.
A report stating [Knicks owner James Dolan] is looking to get rid of the Knicks City Dancers or reduce their role is erroneous, according to a Garden source.
The source said there is a movement to upgrade the routines by the popular Knicks City Dancers to make them less like “regular cheerleaders.”
“We’re in the process of a rebranding of the Knicks City Dancers,” the source said. “We’re looking at making them bigger and better so they’re not just regular cheerleaders.”
The Garden source added the plan is to make the routines more “classy,” citing the tap-dance number that was performed Sunday night. The number of routines changes from game to game. The report stated Dolan wanted the dancers to do less dancing and more T-shirt throwing. The source said that is not the idea of the restructuring.
I'm reminded of a certain Drake song right about now. New York's season started with Dolan dispatching championship thoughts and now we're here—discussing changes to the dance team's routine.
At least if this season is going to be exhaustively long, we'll still have the City Dancers to entertain us. That has to be worth something, right?
---End of update---
The team has dropped two of its first three games. Their lone victory came against the punchless Milwaukee Bucks, but the Knicks failed litmus tests against the championship-hopeful Chicago Bulls and playoff-ready Minnesota Timberwolves.
Reigning scoring champ Carmelo Anthony has become a volume shooter, pacing the team with 21.0 points but doing it on just 37.7 percent shooting from the field. Newcomer Andrea Bargnani had barely shed his warmups before boos rained down on the former No. 1 overall draft pick. Spark plug J.R. Smith is still two games away from returning after being suspended for violating the league's anti-drug program.
Yet, Knicks owner James Dolan has chosen a curious target for his growing displeasure: the Knicks City Dancers. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has the details:
Dolan has become such a hands-on owner—figuratively speaking—that, according to a source, he doesn't want the dancers dancing. Crazy, right? The same guy who wanted creative input on the dancers' outfits (and he's good at it) apparently ordered that the girls' roles be reduced to mostly throwing T-shirts into the crowd. They performed maybe one routine on Sunday.
Why? No one seems to know, except the standard answer is usually "that's Dolan."
Putting a "championship or bust" label on a team that will be lucky to win one playoff series highlights the delusions Dolan has about his team. But telling the dancers to not dance? Crazy doesn't feel like a strong enough term to classify this ridiculous request.
Could another demotion be in the works soon? SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal thinks it's possible: "Expect hot dog vendors to be demoted to napkin-folding in the near future."
Knicks fans need a break from this reality. A two-game set with the lowly Charlotte Bobcats should help, but so too would a moment of extensively choreographed routines performed by scantily clad dancers. Scantily clad (as Isola pointed out), just the way Dolan wanted.
How many times can you even go to the T-shirt-tossing well in one game? Do you cut down on the number of free shirts being thrown around during each break, or do you overload the shirt orders and have them falling from the rafters?
These are questions that, for some reason, now need to be answered.
Dancers help break the monotonous stream of TV, officials' and coaches' timeouts. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think their best work happens away from the T-shirt cannons.