Funny thing about the Knicks. If it’s possible for a franchise to be simultaneously overrated and underrated, the New York Knicks are that franchise. This is a franchise draped in the celebration of long-past achievement and self-importance–two championships, the most recent coming 38 years ago, two utterly unwatchable trips to the Finals since, local media attention far outpacing anything warranted by on-court achievement and, despite what Tony Kornheiser and Mike Lupica try to tell you, no more than three or four truly GREAT players in franchise history.
However, living in Manhattan for the last 5+ years, I’ve had many opportunities to observe up close the Knicks’ relationship with the city, and must say it’s fascinating and frankly difficult not to root for. While the Knicks are irrelevant to today’s NBA landscape, the franchise’s glory days fortuitously fell in the Yankees’ post-Mantle, pre-Reggie Jackson days, capturing the hearts of a generation of fans. To hear true Knicks fans (not the media!) relive experiences with their team–and not just in the best of times–is to realize that there’s something special here. If you ever get the opportunity, ask an older Knick fan about Walt Frazier, Micheal Ray, Bernard King, or young Ewing. While the Knicks' glory days are far, far in the rearview, I find myself rooting for a renaissance because, man, I wanna see what this town’s like when the Knicks are good!