New York Knicks: Why Fans Won't be Lost to Lockout

Joey RotunnoCorrespondent IINovember 10, 2011

Even if the lockout lasts until 2020, Spike Lee will be courtside when play resumes.
Even if the lockout lasts until 2020, Spike Lee will be courtside when play resumes.

Day 133 of the NBA lockout is upon us. During what feels like an eternity, this standoff has outlasted the NFL’s, which ended after a grueling 132 days.

Although there was a 5 p.m. deadline Wednesday, by which time the players union chose not to accept the owners’ proposal of a 50/50 revenue split, discussions between the two sides continued long into the night.

Despite an overtime shift of labor negotiations, commissioner David Stern made the official announcement in the wee hours Thursday morning. The lockout will continue.

It’s encouraging that talks between both parties persisted following the rejection. However, Stern did not sound optimistic, as the owners made it crystal clear that an equal distribution of wealth between them and the players would be their most enticing offer.

If the athletes stand pat, it appears the strike will drag on until the judicial system intervenes; unless players association president Derek Fisher and his constituents cave and go back on their word, things could get ugly.

Surprisingly, New York Knicks owner James Dolan is part of a minority of executives pushing for a compromise sooner rather than later. While we often despise Dolan, for once, he seems to be viewing the situation from a perspective of keeping the fans’ best interests at heart.

Dolan is no dummy. He realizes that for every block of games crossed off the schedule, he’s losing millions in overpriced ticket sales, concessions and merchandise.

So, as much as we’d like to believe Dolan is in our corner, he’s as voracious as the next owner. He just doesn’t care to look at the big picture because the dollar signs are clouding his brain. Dolan wants his money yesterday.

Greed aside, Dolan, Spike and millions of Knicks faithful are desperate for the season to begin, hoping that each meeting on the horizon signifies closure on a deal.

Knicks fans’ stomachs are growling. They’re hungrier than ever, with an insatiable appetite for winning.

Not since Patrick Ewing was in his prime has the bar been set so high for the franchise. With two bona fide superstars in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the sentiment around the city is championship or bust.

With only four years left on Stoudemire’s deal, the reality is there is a finite window of opportunity for him to team up with Anthony before his career is in decline. The duo is reminiscent of the Walt Frazier and Willis Reed pairing on the last world champion squad some 38 years prior.

Over the last decade, poor defense has consistently been debilitating for New York. But, the addition of Mike Woodson to Mike D’Antoni’s offense-driven coaching staff gives us reason to believe this team can put the pieces together to contend for a title.

Last season’s post-Anthony trade experiment was like the sample of Cajun chicken we slurped off the toothpick in the mall food court. Our taste buds are stimulated, and we want to devour a whole plate.

We’re all wondering what the future holds, and that curiosity has translated to excitement. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Will Stoudemire and Anthony be able to coexist for an entire season? Will Chauncey Billups stay healthy and return to form? Is Donnie Walsh a genius for selecting Iman Shumpert in the first round? Will Josh Harrellson be a factor at all?

Can Toney Douglas finally take his game to the next level? Will Landry Fields perform like he did before the All-Star break? Is Stoudemire’s back in game shape? Will Anthony always play defense with the same determination with which he attacks the basket?

Which reserve will become a regular contributor? Can the Knicks beat the Celtics? The Bulls? The Heat? Is advancing beyond the first round of the playoffs conceivable?

And, the list goes on.

Whether the lockout ends tomorrow or as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, just as many spectators will line up at the box office and pass through the turnstiles, or tune into MSG Network for tipoff from the comfort of their own homes. Maybe even more than expected.

Now is an opportune time to jump on the Knicks bandwagon, as anticipation of what’s to come has elevated interest to greater heights.

My father, who is 31 years my senior, was 23 when the Knicks won it all in 1973. Do the math, and you understand that this championship drought is spanning generations.

It’s no longer simply entertainment. It’s become personal, and Knicks fans are ride or die.