The Knicks are so frustrating!
The NBA team plays hard and looks fundamentally sound. It is comprised of players that are easy to root for. As the fans cheer, they build expectations of championships.
That’s too bad. A title is not in the cards for now and there is little reason to think that this once-hallowed franchise will return to its glory days of the 1970s.
There is a simple but compelling reason why the Knicks will languish in the shadow of the Warriors, the Bucks, the defending champion Nuggets and other perennial championship contenders.
The Knicks do not possess a superstar. No Joker. No Giannis. No Embiid. No Tatum. No Durant. No Anthony David. No LeBron.
They have Jalen Brunson, a very serviceable guard. They have Julius Randle, one of the hardest-working forwards in the league.
The NBA, even more than any other, is a haven of superstars. Superstars win championships. Garden-variety hard-working solid citizens do not.
Why can’t the Knick s ever seem to sign the most coveted free agent on the block? LeBron James been available three times in the past decade-plus and he chose to go elsewhere each time. Knick fans gnashed their teeth and management rationalized the disappointments as if they could chalk each of LeBron’s moves to bad luck.
The Knicks like to proclaim that Madison Square Garden is The World’s Most Famous Arena. It sits in Manhattan, still the media capital of the world. When a New York sports team is on a championship roll, it is as if the whole city comes alive. Saturday Night Live still comes to us LIVE – FROM NEW YORK!
It is hard to believe the superstars are rejecting the city. No, they appear to be putting the kibosh on the franchise.
It’s a shame. The fans deserve a better fate. I mean the people who ride the subway to the Garden and sit in the balcony night after night, not The Beautiful People who seemingly come to the games so they can promote their latest films, feed their egos by appearing on the Jumbotron during a timeout and then take a limo home.
Sure, some of them are serious hoops junkies. But many flock to the Garden to be seen and forget about the game as soon as they enter the elevator that takes them out of the Garden.
For now, the Knicks won’t suffer from the superstar gap where it really counts: on the bottom line. The team is routinely ranked as one of the most lucrative NBA franchises around. It is a huge business success.
The Knicks’ man agreement needs to rethink its approach to snaring superstars. What is the front office doing wrong? How can it persuade agents and players that their best bet at happiness and success exist at the Garden? If one superstar comes here, others will surely follow.
The Knicks last won the championship in 1973, capping off an era of grand success. The Knicks win the franchise’s first title in 1970 – the postseason when the badly injured team captain, Willis Reed, dramatically limped on to the court to tangle with future hall of famers Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor in a winner-take-all-seventh game at Madison Square Garden.
Now, look at the Knicks, mired in a sense of mediocrity, a franchise that the media celebrates for making the playoffs a year ago.
That’s the state of things now. Making the playoffs is an accomplishment. I remember what the New York Post’s back page said when the Knicks made the playoffs on the last day of the 1974-75 season: BIG DEAL!