My friend Steven and I are going to take the train from Westport to Manhattan tomorrow night to see our Knicks take on the Miami Heat in the franchise's 62nd season-opening game. We are both diehard, loyal Knicks fans and love our team very much.
But, really, does anybody else?
In a town that has some very historic and popular teams (Yankees, Giants, Rangers), the Knicks have always been right up there in popularity because of where they play and their likable players, like Clyde Frazier and Patrick Ewing; they were able to build a national fan base for those who didn't like their local teams.
Funny, because now very few people here like their local team.
The Knicks' popularity continues to slip, year after year. In 2000, I'd say they were No. 2 in popularity in the city behind the Yankees. Now they're fifth behind the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, and Rangers.
Why? Simple: The team sucks. The players are not likable in any way.
Stephon Marbury is a (my "English Father" moment coming up here) wanker. He always claims he's the best while never actually doing anything to prove it. Then he pouts when he doesn't get his way. Eddy Curry cant play defense and then fights with everyone else. Zach Randolph, we knew he would be bad for the Knicks, attitude-wise and play-wise, and he has shown it so far.
Last season, all this group did was fight. It had no chemistry and contained a bunch of self-centered ball hogs. Jerome James didnt even try when he got here. Malik Rose is practically disabled.
The only likable player on the team, in most people's opinion, is David Lee. Not to sound racist, but there's probably an underlying reason to why he is so popular. Yes, he's a good player, and, yes, he's a very nice guy. But let's face it, there is definitely an underlying message to why he's more popular than Nate Robinson, for example.
Another reason this team's popularity has slipped is the owner is absolutely the worst this town has ever had. James Dolan basically lives off Daddy's money, and the true Knicks fan hates that person (not to sound contradictory—I am 17 and I live in the wealthiest part of the country!). Then he ignores his team and spends time working on his rock band. Ooh, wow, that's real cool. Our owner has a rock band! Maybe he can go on a charity tour with them. The charity can be called "SAVE THE KNICKS FOUNDATION"!
Then come the coaches. The Knicks have had two coaches in the last three years (Larry Brown for 2005-2006, Isiah Thomas the last two years) come and "lead" us to a combined 79 wins in 246 games. Not to mention both coaches were largely unpopular.
Brown didn't seem interested at all in coaching the team, and we all know about Mr. Thomas. What a joke he is. On and off the court. Only time will tell what Mike D'Antoni will bring. But, for his sake, I hope it's LeBron James.
So, yes, I am a Knicks fan. I always will be. A passionate one, too. Unfortunately, most denizens of the tri-state area don't feel the same way.
Remember, they may be a flawed group of jerks...but they're our flawed group of jerks.
If we're going to be the Newcastle United of basketball (another English moment there...if you don't understand it, Wikipedia "Newcastle United FC," or simply look up Joey Barton, Mike Ashley, or Dennis Wise), then we better stick around. How can it not pay off in some way (James? Chris Bosh? Dwyane Wade?)?