Words by Mr. Mecc
On June 25th, 2015, the world watched as the New York Knicks, a team that had just suffered the worst losing season in franchise history (17 and 65), took an unknown, unproven (and unwanted) Kristaps Porzingis as the fourth pick in the first round of the NBA draft. Knicks president Phil Jackson felt the collective curses of a city’s worth of fans as he described his newest acquisition as “a project.”
But in all honesty, the sad part isn’t that the Knicks left at least four top-tier picks on the table, or that this was a moment that smelled of instant regret from the second it happened. The saddest part is that for Knick fans, there is nothing new about this level of disappointment, as it has become the backdrop for the organization in recent years. We, the Knick fan faithful–the few, the loud, the broken–can almost document our lives by some of the moments we’ve suffered through. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
10) Trading Patrick Ewing
In 2000, after years of putting the team on his back and leading the squad to the conference finals more than once, the New York Knicks traded Patrick Ewing, a hall of fame, top 50 of all time player and one of the greatest centers to ever step on the court, to the Seattle Supersonics two years before he retired. Ever heard of The Curse Of The Bambino? I’m not sayin, I’m just saying.
9) Paying Allan Houston A Hundred Million Dollars
Yep, in 2001 the New York Knicks paid a slightly above average shooting guard a max contract of 6 years, 100 million dollars. He went on to play for another two years before knee issues sat him down. But because the contract was guaranteed, he was untradeable and still the 2nd highest paid player in the league… Classic Knicks behavior.
8) Patrick Ewing’s Finger Roll
In 1995, during game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-final game against Reggie Miller’s Indiana Pacers, Patrick gave fans the finger. With 5 seconds left on the clock, Ewing gets an inbounds pass from Derrick Harper and takes it to the hole to try and tie, but fails right at the rim. Being that this was the year Michael Jordan wasn’t in the league, it was seen as the Knicks best chance at a chip in years. Instead, the Pacers went on to face The Orlando Magic in the conference finals. So, yeah… thanks Pat.
7) Drafting Fredrick Weis
The draft, for most teams, represents a fresh start and another shot at greatness. But for the Knicks, it’s the place where ulcers are born and mistakes are made. Case in point, in 1999, the Knicks had a 15th pick in the 1st round but passed on Ron Artest and instead selected 7’2” French center Fredrick Weis. Weis’s only highlight came when Vince Carter dunked by jumping over him during the summer 2000 Olympics in a move called La Dunk De La Mort. Translation not needed.
6) The “Past-Their-Prime” Franchise Gambles
It can honestly be said that some pretty legendary players have rocked Knicks jerseys and played for the orange and blue. Unfortunately, by the time the Knicks got to them, their legend- making days were well past them. From Antonio McDyess in 2002 to Steve Francis in 2006 to Tracy McGrady in 2010, the Knicks have a habit of going after (and paying for) past their prime players.
5) The Isiah Thomas Era (2003 to 2008)
When you’re talking about NBA champ and Hall of famer Isiah Thomas, you have to ask, “How did someone who did so good on the court, do sooo amazingly bad everywhere around it?” With a presidential resume that includes the horrible coaching of Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown and Mike D’Antoni, the god-awful play of Stevie Francis and Eddie Curry, trading draft picks that would turn out to be Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge and a sex scandal to boot? Most Knicks faithful are still in therapy over that era.
4) The Carmelo Anthony Trade
After LeBron opted to take his talents to South Beach, the Knicks decided they needed to secure, what was seen then, as the second best scorer in the league in Carmelo Anthony. Letting the world know he was ready to come to the Garden, the Knicks made moves to get him in 2011. Those moves however included sending three of our starting five players in Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Raymond Felton along with center Timofey Mozgov to Denver. That move cost us not only a line-up that was playing great but also any chances of landing point guard Chris Paul. The pain was extraordinary.
3) Reggie Miller Scoring Eight Points In Nine Seconds
Short and sweet… with the Indiana Pacers down six points and their Center Rik Smits fouled out with 18.7 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, Reggie Miller decided to get even with a courtside Spike Lee by hitting two 3-point bombs before drawing a foul and sinking two free-throws, taking a one-game lead in a series the Knicks would go on to lose. Though his courtside seat hasn’t changed, Spike’s movies haven’t been the same since.
2) Watching players flourish after they leave
Plenty of people believe the Knicks as a franchise, team and organization are simply cursed. Although that may seem far fetched to the uninitiated, we the Knick faithful know better. How else do you explain players who were good at best, going on to become phenomenal lynchpins of their new teams the second they switch uniforms? Danilo Gallinari often lights the Garden up, Trevor Ariza is the man in Houston, Nate Robinson gave the Bulls new life, Jamal Crawford is an essential part of the Clippers offense and Zach Randolph is a damn near All-Star in Memphis. Even JR Smith and Iman Shumpert were a few games away from a ring this year. To add insult to injury, Eddy Curry actually got a ring by sitting on the Miami Heat bench in 2012. Curses are REAL.
1) James Dolan
As one of the worst owners of all time, James Dolan has managed to meddle in almost every aspect of the team where he’s not wanted and definitely not needed. Everything on this list has happened on his watch and with his approval, leading the Knick faithful to believe that the man either hates New York, hates Basketball, is billionaire-bored or all of the above. The worst part of this list? I honestly could have kept going ’til my fingers hurt. But folks have yet to master typing through tears and all this reminiscing is driving the writer to find comfort food.