June 17, 2011 (New York)
As LeBron James and crew rolled down in their various, floats millions of delerious fans screamed for their heroes. The excitement felt on Tuesday as the Knicks defeated Greg Oden and the Portland Trailblazers 110-99 in Game Four of the NBA Finals carried over to the streets of Lower Manhattan for yet another parade in the town becoming known as "Championship City."
Finals MVP James, in the lead car, asked the fans at City Hall, "You waited 38 years for this? Was it worth the wait?" The answer was an emphatic "YES!"
Mayor Anthony Weiner, in the second year of his first term, presented each player with a key to the city. Popular big man Hasheem Thabeet, who in his own right might have earned the Finals MVP, rapped with Chris Bosh and David Lee—much to the delight of delirious fans.
Many fans came from all over to witness this parade. Brian Brennan, 18—who grew up in Westport, Conn., and is now a student at Syracuse University—made the four-hour trip down to be at this day. "I came home early! I'm missing finals! Dont tell anyone!"
To his right was Joe Beningo, who was a well-known pessimist from WFAN, and a New York Mets, New York Jets, and New York Knicks fan. He described the parade saying "Bro, this is the greatest day of my life! Oh, the pain! Who's kidding who?!"
Ever since the Giants' dramatic Super Bowl win in early 2008, NY has experienced a sudden rise in Championships. The Giants would repeat as Champions, beating the crosstown Jets in Super Bowl XLIII, 35-14. In October of 2009, CC Sabathia's Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win the franchise's 27th championship. In February 2011, the Giants won their third Super Bowl in four years in becoming a modern dynasty by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-21.
The Knicks' championship came after a dramatic overhaul that started in November 2008, when the team traded Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph to get rid of their ridiculous contracts. With the cap room freed by these trades, the team was able to afford James and Bosh in a 2010 offseason bonanza.
After two subpar seasons—one out of the playoffs, which allowed them to draft starting center Hasheem Thabeet, and another as the eighth seed in the playoffs, where they were swept by the eventual-champion Celtics—the team would have the greatest season of any Knicks team in history with a 66-16 record.
The team swept the lowly eighth-seeded New Jersey Nets (who are relocating to St. Louis) in the first round, and then beat the aging Boston Celtics in six in the second round of the playoffs.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Knicks would play the Pistons, who looked to win Allen Iverson an elusive ring before he retired. However, the Knicks won the series in five to head to their first NBA Finals since 1999.
The team played Greg Oden's Portland Trailblazers, but the Blazers wouldn't come close at all in the series. The Knicks won every game by at least 10 points.
"I dont know how to react," Brennan added. "I want to react the way I did after every Giants Super Bowl and Yankees World Series. Or maybe the way I reacted when President Obama officially withdrew our troops from Iraq. Or maybe the way I reacted when we killed Osama Bin Laden and the Freedom Tower was finished—but I didn't know how to react. This is a totally unprecedented day in my life! LETS GO KNICKS!"
...and then I woke up.