The New York Knicks: One Ego, Five Balls
Just the other day I was snooping through my bookshelf. Picking up solids and softs, brushing off dust and dirt which overwhelmed the book covers, and at one time, chased my dog who snatched a Shakespeare book from the floor.
While doing all of this I couldn't help but stop, open, and read the first sports book I ever purchased: The Chaotic Rise of the New York Knicks. A Mike Wise and Frank Isola piece on the up's-and-down's of the historic Knick run to the NBA finals, where they would eventually lose to Robinson's San Antonio Spurs. The front cover showed Sprewell (the quintessential acquisition of the 1998-98 season) about to violently slam it home.
Stories of Jeff Van Gundy, Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell and the injuries that would prevent Knicks legend Patrick Ewing from contributing in the playoffs is the book substance. A piece, which I thought at the time, was the greatest thing ever (was 13 years old) described the last exciting season in the Garden. The concluding season when Knick fans tippy-toed from the excitement. Where celebrities filled the front rows. Where Spike Lee harassed Knick-killer, Reggie Miller.
A time when the Knicks were feared and Madison Square Garden was seen in another light.
We all know what happened next.
Y2K came pouring in...Isaiah showed up, all Dolan did was play the guitar and Stephon became Starbury.
That pretty much sums up where the New York Knicks went wrong. Not going to get deeper than that. The Knicks are entering a new chapter and are headed down the right path.
I digress, back to the book. I started to browse and look at some pictures when I came upon a great quote I stupidly forgot over the years. Written by former post columnist, Larry Merchant:
“Some people say that basketball has been described as a game of five egos and one ball. However, the Knicks play as though they have one ego and five balls”
Surprisingly this quote had nothing to do with the 1998/99 Knickerbockers, the Ewing era and of course nothing remotely close to the 2000 Knicks.
Merchant was referring to the Willis Reed Knicks. The Walt Frazier Knicks and more importantly, the William “Red” Holzman Knicks.
A team that filled the eyes with tears and the heart with passion. A basketball team aiming for one goal, a championship.
Ladies and gents... I might be getting ahead of myself here, but after watching the Knicks in the first four preseason games and witnessing the attitude change D'Antoni is instilling in all his players... The New York Knicks are on the path to becoming championship contenders—they must sign Lee and trade Curry.
Alone in this I may be. However, I cannot help but get excited on the path the Knicks are taking.
They look like a unit of selfless players aiming for that championship. A squad that wants to play!
In the 59 years the New York Knicks have been a part of the NBA they’ve only held up the championship trophy twice. Well, to all you Knickerbockers. That’s all about to change. And, just so you know this is me being objective not a fan.
The Knicks under D’Antoni are starting to play with five balls and one ego. There smilin', runnin', carin', there just ballin'.
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