Lupus?! A wha dat?!

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Tag: pacers

The Finals Next Time (Between the Knicks and Me)

  

Little fella you’ve been in this world for nearly five months now and of all that I teach you, I hope you will always remember that #ballislife.

You will be blessed to grow up in New York City, a town that has as many courts as Brooklyn has churches. I will do my best to teach you the fundamentals of the game and I pray that you love the game as much as I do. But there is one thing that I will find difficult to pass on to you. I cannot teach you this, I can only give you exposure. And exposure to this thing I speak of, this thing I hold so near and dear to my heart, may cause repulsion more than reverence. Your mother has already threatened me with divorce if you grow to embrace them as I do. Others have asked me why I would want you to suffer like I have. But I’ve paid them no mind. Trust me son, being a Knicks fan builds character.
I, your father, am too young to fully appreciate the glory days of the Knicks’ championship years. I will show you one day the great moment when Willis Reed came through the tunnel. You will know that Walt Frazier was once Clyde and played the game with style as great as his suits. 

My glory days were in the 90s when the Knicks often lost to an evil man named Michael Jordan. (An evil man who sells fly shoes, more on this later.) They also had a heated rivalry with an annoying man named Reggie Miller. This man, as you will discover when we watch the blessed game on TNT, is just as annoying broadcasting the game as he was playing it. When the day comes and you ask me, “Father, why is that skinny man so obnoxious?” I will shed a joyful tear. 

There will come a time when you will ask me why my hate for the Heat is so deep. (#FIHM) I will tell you that my hate for them is twofold. In my glory days we had a great coach named Pat Riley. He took the Knicks to the Finals in ’94 and when the owners wouldn’t give him more power (power that he truly deserved), he went to Miami. In Miami, Riley turned a floundering expansion team into a conference powerhouse. The Heat would challenge the Bulls, Pacers and my Knicks and adopted that mean style that the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons fathered. My Knicks brushed them pretty regularly (Allan Houston’s shot to eliminate them from the playoffs in ’99 is my favorite NBA moment) but the hatred was solidified during the ’96-97 playoffs when PJ Brown hip tossed Charlie Ward. 

The Knicks went from winning the series 3-1 to losing in a game 7. They suspended 9 Knicks in the series! 9! Now as you hear this I’m sure you are thinking, “that must have been a big fight.” And yes there was a pretty sincere brawl (My Knicks were always ready to throw hands.) but many of the players who were suspended as a result of merely stepping onto the court. Including, my favorite Knick of all time, Patrick Ewing. Ewing is the most deserving of all legends who never won a ring and #FIHM because he should have won one that year.

You may be thinking, “Wow Father, that does not seem like enough reason to hate the Miami Heat forever (not to be confused with hatred for the city of Miami. After all it is gorgeous and not Boston.)” and perhaps you are right.

 I must admit my hate for them began to subside after Allan Houston hit that glorious runner against them and as my Knicks faded from conference relevance. But that hatred roars again because of the summer of 2010. A mere five years before your existence, I know son, but it is the summer of my discontent. 

That summer I anticipated LeBron James joining my Knicks and bringing the first championship we have experienced since 1973. But that did not happen. LeBron would go to Miami and win 2 championships then return home to Cleveland. You will learn that LeBron is a good enough player to take a team to the Finals by himself and most definitely could have won us a championship. So I admit, I am bitter. I had no reason to believe LeBron was coming to my Knicks but I was hurt when he did not. I have forgiven him but my hate for the Heat rages on.

So what will we do? I am certain you will love this game and can see an attraction budding as you watch the screen intently as I play 2K. I will not pressure you, simply expose you to Knicks games and hopefully take you to the Garden, the world’s most famous arena. Your mother wants you to be a Warriors fan and I cannot blame you if you do. Children are often frontrunners and they will be good for a long time. Just please, promise me you will never cheer for the Bulls, Celtics, Heat, or Pacers. You’re a Brooklyn kid though. So if you end up cheering for the Nets I will not judge you, I will only laugh. 

I Ain’t Scared of You Nets!

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I never expected this. Months ago, as chatter regarding this draft was beginning to bubble, my excitement waned and I even considered missing the draft a possibility. Certainly wasn’t going to break an appointment for this lackluster class. But as the days drew closer and closer I grew intrigued. Something about this draft just felt right. Seems like slow cooking with this group of guys. No hot and readies in the bunch but only time will tell if this draft class is Grimaldi’s or Ellio’s.

But the big news of the draft, and offseason thus far, was the Nets’ acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. I never considered the Nets rivals because this past season was the first time both teams mattered at the same time. (Remember when the Knicks tried to follow Tim Thomas (!) into a minor beef that left the Knicks swept? Fugazy.) It wasn’t enough for the Nets to ruin a chant from my birthplace but now they have recruited two chief Knicks antagonists as mercenaries. My disgust is placated by two beliefs:

1. ESPN might as well have put an epitaph on the News Ticker.  The Celtics are thoroughly finished. As an NBA fan I believe the league needs the Celtics and Lakers to be strong franchises but I can’t front. I loathe all Boston teams. Rebuilding mode means my Knicks can breathe without the ghost of Red Auerbach tapdancing on our heads.

 

2. This trade will afford the upcoming season terrific theatre which is why I’m here. The only thing better than world class basketball is world class basketball coupled with a storyline.

As a Knicks fan it felt weird to be pleased with the front office’s decisions but I am unreasonably excited about Tim Hardaway Jr donning the blue and orange. Maybe it’s the sweet vengeance of knowing that his father, our longtime nemesis, will be forced to reluctantly cheer for the Knicks but moreover I think the kid can flat out play. Melo needs players who can help him spread the floor and Hardaway will definitely aid in this cause. He’s prolly my 3rd favorite player in this draft behind Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter Jr. (I think time will show that Oladipo is the best player in this class and I won’t be surprised if the Wizards use Otto’s two way greatness to claw their way to the 9th or 10th seed.) Draft night left the Knicks with only one move but they seem to be ready to retool this offseason. We’ve gone from Discount Double Check to Discount Dirk (or Bargain Bargnani as his friends call him). I don’t think this trade is a direct response to the Nets but is another instance of the Knicks confusing short sightedness with being in “win-now” mode. It feels so silly sometimes. 

I think if you pressure Nets fans they will admit that this trade does not put them in the conversation with the Miami Heat. (Truth be told, with a healthy D. Rose on the Bulls, and an Indiana squad that’s only going to be better, these Nets may not even have home court in the playoffs.)

Getting those grumpy old men from Beantown may pay off in the regular season but leave them with an empty bag come playoff time. No chips.

 

 

Brian Mooney

Educator, Scholar, Author

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