Being a Knicks fan is hard, especially for someone like me who is 28 years old.
I grew up spoiled, the Knicks were legitimately good my entire childhood. There was a time when all I knew as a fan of the team was excellence. We’ve experienced everything except winning a title. The Knicks made it to the Finals in 1994 as the favorite, and again in ’99 as an upstart, underdog. Eastern Conference Semifinals was the norm with the occasional trip further.
We also experienced a variety of bad shit during the good times.
Never beating your rival in a playoff series stinks and New York never once got the best of Jordan. Reggie Miller was obnoxious, but at least they beat him. They owned the Heat, but Miami did cost the Knicks a shot at the Bulls because P.J. Brown is a douche.
If we’re being honest, New York wouldn’t have beaten Chicago in 96-97 anyway. The Bulls went 69-13 with a +10.5 point differential. The argument against that is they went 2-2 against each other in the regular season and every game was decided by four points or less.
As time went on, the Knicks slowly got worse. Weird crap started happening — I remember listening to Isola go on Francesa and talk about how he got treated like garbage by the organization — not getting told when practice was and stuff like that. I didn’t really get it then, but yea, that all makes sense now.
Everything fell apart after the great run and they had an extensive period of incompetence. It was for many different reasons, but mainly a sequence of decisions by the front office that were either extremely stupid or went as bad as it possibly could go. The Knicks managed to set a record for the amount of times you could hit rock bottom.
- Really sucking, check.
- Sucking, check.
- Mediocre, check.
- Being good and losing, check.
- Being elite and losing, check.
There is only one thing as a Knicks fan I haven’t seen them accomplish, which is winning a championship.
Eventually, after nine seasons of being a steaming pile of crap, New York became somewhat relevant again.
You can agree or disagree with what Donnie Walsh did during his time here, but there is no debate that he was the one who got the process of what we’re watching today going (To an extent you can say Isiah Thomas, which contradicts my previous statement, but that’s an argument for another day and ruins how this story fits together, so I’m not acknowledging that right now. Me saying I’m not acknowledging that right now is also a contradiction because I just said it. I think it’s time to move along from my contradictions).
Bring into focus present day – the Knicks are 32-17 and in second place in the Eastern Conference. It’s been a real long time since you could spit a sentence like that about the Knicks.
There are two parts that are difficult to take and they’re partially connected: LeBron James and everything the Knicks do gets looked at through the prism of if it makes them good enough to win a championship.
Well, part one of that equation, LeBron, needs to be defeated for New York to accomplish part two. In the not breaking news department, James is going to be really, really hard to beat.
Whenever New York makes a move, or a potential move is discussed, the question posed ends up being does it make them good enough to win it all, i.e., beat the Miami Heat, not just make the team better.
Let’s once again be honest like we were about 1996-97.
Outside of trades that are completely unattainable, there isn’t a move that exists which makes beating the Miami Heat in the playoffs a likely proposition. Maybe New York gets extremely lucky, but the majority of the time in a seven game series the better team is going to win.
The end game of this isn’t a fact, crazier stuff has happened, but the direction seems to be headed somewhere it has gone before.
Unfairly or fairly, everything that transpires gets judged by one singular goal, and that goal is difficult to accomplish now with the potential of it being easier in the near future needing a sudden, crazy swing in LeBron’s career arc.
Most teams go through cycles with different levels of highs and lows. I’m worried this current path is going to be ridiculously similar to the one I have already witnessed and experienced.