Jeremy Lin is gone. You will never see him in a Knick uniform again. Thankfully each East team plays each West team home and away so we should see him in the Garden again. Most likely, he will torch the Knicks like most people do when they come here. Just think of the ratings coup that it could be.
Was it Jeremy’s Lin’s fault? Did he take the money and run? Was it Knick owner Dolan’s fault? should Dolan have made him an offer upfront rather than telling him to shop around? Are the Knicks just poorly managed? Are they going int he wrong direction? Was this purely a good business decision on part of Dolan? Was it a good basketball decision on part of the Knicks? Does Lin just fit the Rockets offensive system better? Is Lin better off now that he is at a franchise willing to be bold and with competent ownership? And the questions rain...
All I know is that I feel a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was at the second Linsanity game, watching as he made history and talking about it on public radio. His 25 games made me feel about Knicks basketball the way I had not felt since becoming a dedicated Knick fan.
See, the truth in all this is that I was not ALWAYS a die hard Knick fan. There is precedent for me changing allegiance of teams. Maybe that is the important point. Maybe it is time to think about a new team. But who would that be?
I started liking the Showtime Lakers. Magic was, well, Magic. Kareem shares the same name as my dad and older brother and Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, and A.C. - THAT was a team! Magic broke my heart when he announced he had AIDS. An era had ended. Soon the Knicks rise and my regional associations took root. No longer would I root for another team in another market. I had come of age and would become a lover of the Syracuse Orange, the NY Mets and Yankees and I say why in this The Takeaway piece, the Buffalo Bills and the NY Giants (1990 was a watershed moment in the love affair of both teams). Overall, I can root for other NY teams but the ones listed above I have a visceral reaction when they underperform or just lose.
The end of Linsanity feels like the bitter nasty icing on a disgusting cake that James Dolan and the Knicks organization has been forcing me to eat for the past 10-12 years. I am sick of watching them make fools out of themselves and the City I was born in and love. The only thing keeping me invested, even a little bit, is a respect for Melo - who was the savior at Syracuse after all those “almosts” and the hope that he could do the same for the Orange and Blue.
Will Melo give me a reason to stay by my beloved squad?
Of course the question turns to who else is there to root for. I am a Brooklyn kid but deep down the “Nets” squandered a precious opportunity to rebrand themselves appropriate for the Planet. They could have gotten the Kings as a name and the Sacramento team should have moved to another city and taken another name - maybe even gone back to the Royals like they started out being. Someone told me recently that the team should have simply been named BROOKLYN. Had they done that AND made a far better logo I MIGHT have been full speed behind them and out of the Dark Ages of the Knicks and onto a Brooklyn Enlightenment.
But no. Jay Z missed this one. Good thing he is a rapper and not a sports franchise shot caller. I will not root for the Lakers - as much as I am intrigued by the Nash and Kobe and (maybe) Dwight Howard team up. Celtics? I like Doc and Paul Pierce but that’s not enough. Miami. no. ‘Nuff Said. The Denver Nuggets seem like a good candidate, as does Golden State and the Clippers. And yes, I will still keep an eye on the Knicks. I want them to do well but right now I think the only way that they can actually “win” is by getting rid of their most toxic piece - their owner.
I want to start a campaign that drafts Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to be the owner of the NY Knicks after he leaves office. It would be a nice second act. The stands could be outfitted with Bloomberg terminals, the place could become super “green” and sustainable (PlaNYC), school children could be given regular access to facilities - there could be a charter school at MSG! And all the Mayor’s public health initiatives could be executed at MSG without any discord.
Plus, he could hire pure basketball people that could run the team well, give them a big blank check and say:
“Win NYC some NBA titles and... don’t screw up!”