Knicks Fanatics

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Knicks Revivalism (Part I the 2010 Plan Holy Trinity)

[In keeping with Knicks’ spirit week resident blogger Orange and Blue offers his take on the divine nature of fandom and offers a positive take on the first year’s work of the new regime. Stay tuned for Part Two in which O&B questions the trajectory and moves, or lack thereof, of the new regimes. So join in and get ready to receive and  in Part 2 question the Spirit,… the Holy Spirit and Sacred Trinity of Knicks Sports Fandom!]

Fandom as Religion and Knicks Fans Messianic Dreams

Fandom is a quasi religious phenomena because of what it often entails- e.g., adoration, faith and loyalty, and zealous commitment throughout the team’s rising and waning fortunes. Examples of the quasi religious nature of fandom in general can be found in the shrines that adorn many a fanatics home, the idolization (and demonization) of players and personalities linked/associated with the team’s fortunes, and the shared and general belief amongst fans that their team, (despite their objective plight), will defy odds in any particular game, season or undertaking to carry the fanbase to the miraculous and euphoric. In the electronic age the religious experience of fandom has blossomed into different denominations as a result of the proliferation of team oriented weblogs-both corporate or private, sponsored or independent.

For the legions of Knick fans, fandom has not been an easy endeavor. With the Franchise’s last championship occurring over 35 years ago and the last championship run occurring during the 1998-99 season, the term “long suffering” has become an ever more apropos term for a fanbase whose arid plight can be likened to the Israelites march through the desert.  In the doldrums of a long championship drought, Knick fans, (and the organization as well), have searched for and sought out a Savior to lead the franchise to a championship resurrection. From the mid 1980s through the end of the century the drafting of center Patrick Ewing was supposed to usher in a return to glory but the teams at Ewing’s disposal at best came within a game of that much hoped upon return. The turn of the century then saw the Franchise pin it’s hopes, (and extend or acquire disproportionate contract offers), on the deteriorating Knees of Shooting Guard Allan Houston, and later upon the questionable character of Point Guard Stephon Marbury. Also, throughout the 1980’s into and through the turn of the century the Names of Knick adversaries such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant also figured prominently in conversations about a potential Knick messiah.

“The Knicks Holy Trinity” and Revivalist Mythology for Popular Consumption

Lebron-Hahn-Walsh1

I. A Franchise’s Downward Spiral

As 1973 slips into the distant memory, the sole decade of championship contention during the 1990s appears ever more like an oasis in a vast wasteland of organizational ineptitude. But for many Knicks’ fans the recent decade at the turn of the century came to represent the worst era of franchise futility- or at least the most dubiously publicized period. For instance, personnel decisions made during the first decade of the turn of the century, (a veritable what not to do for the potential Arm Chair GM), mired the organization in bad contracts and coaching and managerial instability, which at best ended in buyouts and settlement agreements but at worst tarnished the organizations public image under the glaring ravenous lens of the local sports media hawks.

II. A Revival

But just as the Franchise approached an apparent nadir, and Knick fandom was on the verge of losing its religion, a new vision of redemption emerged onto the spotlight of Broadway for the popular consumption and sedation of legions of fans. The new vision of the franchise’s championship resurrection easily became monumental orthodoxy cast in the form of an unassailable holy trinity. That holy trinity has come to encompass the persons, personalities and essences of Donnie Walsh, Lebron James and Newsday’s sports blog coverage of the Knicks.  This holy trinity captures the spirit of the times and marks a turning of the tide against the organizational failings and imbalances since the turn of the century.

In the Knicks holy trininty, “[ ]”onnie Walsh represents the Father Figure.  Cast as a wise and timeless figure, sort of like the creator gods of many religions, it is “[ ]” onnie Walsh who is assigned the task of recreating the Knicks into a Championship contender.  According to popular belief, “[ ]”onnie Walsh’s mythic creational/transformational powers come from a vast well of experience that imbues his managerial decisions with an other worldly patience necessary to carry out a master plan for the franchises resurrection.

Walsh Ressurection

If “[ ]”onnie Walsh is the Father of the Trinity, then Lebron James is the incarnate personification of the long desired franchise savior. As basketball’s king on earth, King James, is considered the chosen one, the one who will carry Knicks fandom to the promised land of an NBA Championship that has alluded the Franchise for over 35 years.  King James has to date certainly matched and or exceeded the hype that surrounded his entrance into the NBA, by displaying the legendary greatness attributed to him, during dramatic playoff performances against the Pistons and Magic, and by carrying an average Cavaliers’ team to the top seeding in the 2008-09 NBA Playoffs.

King Lebronclip_image006

But what would the Knicks resurrection and the return of its rumored savior be if the Zeitgeist of the ever-drawing moment did not find itself in the hearts and minds of Knicks fans. To that end a trinity is nothing without it’s Holy Spirit, which is inblognated in the Cablevision bought and owned, Newsday Sports Coverage of the New York Knicks.  Newsday’s coverage of the unfolding “resurrection” is spearheaded by the highly popular reporter/blogger Alan Hahn.   Hahn’s abilities as a prolific blogger, coupled with his careful consideration to his fan base of bloggers and overall affable personality has helped Newsday’s blog the Knicks Fix become one of the more important sources for disseminating the message, spirit and belief in the inevitable return of a Knicks’ Messiah and coming of a 2010 Championship resurrection.

Alan Hahn

III. The Trilogy and “The Plan” in 2010 as a Turning of the Tide

Collectively the trinity represents a shifting of the tide for the Franchise against mistakes of prior Knick regimes at the turn of the century. For instance the hiring of “[ ]”onnie Walsh, as the Head of Basketball Operations, signaled the end of a free wheeling era that reached it’s Zenith under Isiah Thomas.  That era can be said to be marked by numerous gambles in terms of acquiring talented yet highly priced players, either: 1) who were high risk due to character issues; 2) whose statistical production did not significantly improve the organization’s opportunities to engage in and succeed in post season play; 3) whose presence resulted in roster redundancies that negated the player’s value and cut into the development of younger players. Moreover the acquisitions of several of the highly priced yet non-impact talent on the Knicks rosters came at the high cost of lost future draft picks, that were traded away in the hopes that the talent acquired would flourish under Zeke’s management and influence, where they previously had faltered or exhausted their welcomes with their prior teams. To Walsh’s credit the greater part of his first full year as Head of Basketball Operations witnessed the jettisoning of high salary, yet low value per production players such as Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford. Walsh’s first year also witnessed the jettisoning of Knicks’ team Mascot Jerome James and the eventual dismissal of Brooklyn legend turned pariah, Stephon Marbury.

The shifting of the tide away from talented yet risky players and generally low value per production players, to an objective of targeting proven Star free agents suggested the organization had quite possibly learned certain lessons prominent in the management war rooms of the teams that had dumped their undesirables onto the Knicks roster.   To that extent the fascination with acquiring a player of Lebron James’ caliber in 2010, a/k/a “The Plan”, signals not merely a fan boy fantasy but also a partial revelation of what it might take to resurrect a moribund NBA Franchise. Thus for the Knicks Franchise a proverbial veritable lightbulb is finally turned on to illuminate the organization’s trajectory to a vision of acquiring a talent/saviour that many expect will lead the Knicks to a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Plan

Additionally, Walsh’s acquisition of Head Coach Mike “[ ]” Antoni, infused an upbeat atmosphere into the downtrodden lockeroom, while providing the players discipline and direction (on at least one side of the coaching equation). “[ ]”Antoni’s presence also signaled to the team that playing time, (with the exception of Stephon Marbury’s quarantine),  was not a given but would be earned by performance on the court and in practice. The Wally Pip Rule alluded to by Isiah Thomas, the formerly conflicted head coach and president of basketball operations, became a reality with the franchise under a separate head coach and Management. Notably, the Knicks in “[ ]”Antoni’s, first year at the helm had better balance on the line up between offensive and defensive players and youthful and veteran players on the court- e.g., the willing to utilize defensive reserve Jared Jefferies more frequently and to utilize him on opposing team’s point guards, the insertion of talented sophomore Wilson Chandler into the team’s regular rotation, the insertion of fan favorite David Lee into the starting line up.

As the franchise was steered towards an improved trajectory, Franchise ownership also directed their efforts to better controlling/combating the negative coverage of the Franchise by the local sports media outlets.  The Change in the Franchises media policy, from an iron curtain preventing reporter access to a more open approach signaling a détente with sports reporting entities was one step taken to change the Franchises image in the eyes of the local sports journals. The greater move however, involved the purchase of Newsday by Cablevision, which also owns the Knicks- and according to some even Alan Hahn. In a war for the hearts and minds of Knicks’ fans the purchase of Newsday represented the acquisition of a veritable Tokyo Rose/Axis Sally megaphone casting pro Knicks spin via Alan Hahn’s sports coverage of the Knicks as both reporter and blogger. The change in the Knicks media policy when coupled with the partisan voice cast in the Franchise’s favor by Newsday has quickly influenced other corporate Knicks’ fan blogs, which similarly disseminate the inevitability and certainty of the Knick’s Messiah’s return in 2010- see SNY’s Knicks Blog.

Tattoo

Aint “THE PLAN” Lovely?…

September 25, 2009 Posted by | 1973 Championship, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, James Dolan, Jared Jeffries, Lebron James., Michael Jordan, Mike D'Antoni, NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, New York Knicks, Newsday, Patrick Ewing, Scott Layden, Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza, Uncategorized, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

NATE ROBINSON AND KNICKS REACH $5MIL ONE-YEAR DEAL

Nate'S Back

As most of us expected, Nate Robinson will remain a Knick for at least one more year for an approximate price of $5 million ($5.8 Million,  the league average, would make more sense but the report says $5 mil).  According to Yahoo.comthe deal is expected to be finalized next week.  The reported agreement is more than the $2.9 million qualifying offer originally extended to Robinson.  According to the New York Times this deal will end the Knicks’ courtship with restricted free agent Ramon Sessions.

I doubt that the two are inextricably connected.  Regardless of Nate’s return, the Knicks are still looking for a point guard to replace (or phase out) Chris Duhon as the starting point guard.  Nate has shown an ability to play point for short periods but is clearly at his best as an off the bench spark plug who gives a second unit fire power and can control the tempo of the game.

Now that the Knicks have been spurned by Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Andre Miller, they are focused on an improbable union with Ramon Sessions.   Ramon Sessions is the best bet remaining to run the offense, but it is highly likely that any offer the Knicks make to Sessions would be matched by the Bucks who just released Salim Stoudemire and Bruce Bowen, who is considering retirement, while picking up Hakim Warrick. The Bucks will need an experienced general to run its re-tooled team, which includes the addition of Amir Johnson,  until Brandon Jennings is ready to take over full time.  Luke Ridnour with his $6 million contract seems to be the odd man out eventually.

Notably, the New York Times reports that Robinson’s one year salary will not impact the 2010 plan, but that is not my understanding of the CBA.  Unless Robinson is traded at the end of the one year contract or his rights are renounced, as an unrestricted free agent Nate’s salary will count against the salary cap.  Assuming Nate’s contract is actually for the average NBA salary amount of $5.85 million, 150% of his contract  (or $8.78 million) would count against the salary cap. If his contract is below the average salary, 200% of the salary will count against the cap.

The Knicks claimed Jason Williams, 33, off waivers and have until August 6th to extend him an offer.  Reportedly the Knicks will give Williams a workout this week to determine whether they want to add the 6’1″, 190 lbs guard, known as “White Chocolate” for his stylistic ballhandling flair and confidence, to the unshaped guard corp.  Williams, who averaged 4.6 assists in the 2008-2009 season, before he retired the following year, can probably run the D’Antoni offense in short spurts and is seen as insurance should  the Bucks decide to match any offer the Knicks (or Clippers) extend to Sessions.

Except for Dolan’s penchant for serving the fans big name placebos to temporarily ease the pain of being a Knicks fan, any mention of Allen Iverson running the D’Antoni offense should be considered a joke.  The D’Antoni offense is predicated on ball movement — Allen Iverson’s game is not.  But since the season is projected to be another waste, why not bring in Iverson for entertainment value? Entertainment value is all a Iverson-Knicks union would have to offer.

Jump Balls. . . . Knicks Fix, the Newsday Knicks blog, has undergone remodeling.  The result is a user unfriendly interface which makes it difficult to follow the discussion.  Too bad.  While Alan Hahn’s love fest with his boss’ NYK President, Donnie Walsh, is bias at its most nauseating, the blog’s insights are entertaining and most often informative.  .  .  .Is Stephon Marbury a mad genius or Flava Flav’s heir apparent for the “Stephon-n-fetchit” Award. .  .


. . . Shaq has a response to Steph’s petroleum based throat lozenge

August 2, 2009 Posted by | Chris Duhon, James Dolan, Nate Robinson, Stephon Marbury | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

FORMER MSG PREZ-CEO TO JOIN MAGIC JOHNSON AND ACADEMIA

Steve Mills, who is widely credited with hiring Isiah Thomas as President of the New York Knicks, is leaving MSG in June to join Magic Johnson Enterprises and teach a course at Princeton University where he was a star point guard in the Ivy League under coaching legend Pete Carril.

Mills joined MSG in 1999 as executive vice president of franchise operations before becoming president of sports team operations for MSG in June 2001. In December 2003, Mills was promoted to the then-newly created position of President and Chief Operating Officer of MSG Sports.   Mills, who worked with Magic Johnson during the development of the Dream Team, offered Earvin the job as MSG President.  In turn, Magic glowingly referred his longtime friend Isiah Thomas for the position.

In July 2008, Mills was replaced by Scott O’Neil as President who was previously a vice president at the NBA, apparently the breeding ground for New York Knicks executives.

Although, he will be known for his role in the IT Era and Anucha Browne reality drama at MSG, Mills oversaw the business operations of all three professional sports teams, the Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty, and was responsible for all other sports-related activities of the Garden, including college basketball, boxing, and track and field.

During Mills tenure as the head of sports operations since 2001 to 2008, the Rangers made the playoffs every season since 2003-04 except the 2004-05 lost lockout season. The Liberty reached the postseason seven times from 2001-2008 including the finals in 2002 and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004-2008.  Although many fans will judge Mills performance by mass media reports and the failures of the Thomas era. Mills performed well and hung in there in a very tough market.

Mills, along with Terdema Ussery, President of the Dallas Mavericks, was touted as one of the people of color who could possible replace David Stern as commissioner of the NBA.  Before joining MSG, Mills played an integral role in the National Basketball Association’s development for over 16 years after he was hired in 1983 as an account executive in NBA Properties.   His last post was as senior vice president, basketball and player development. His duties included managing the league’s relationships with all domestic and international basketball organizations, including the NCAA and USA Basketball, as well as overseeing the NBA’s developmental programs and player initiatives during one of the most critical periods in league history.  Mills also played a key role in the creation of the Women’s National Basketball Association and served on the team responsible for the negotiation of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Steve Mills, who is widely considered to be a good guy, played for legend Pete Carril and was teammates at Princeton University with John Rogers, the multi-millionaire founder of the Ariel Fund and Obama confidant, and Craig Robinson, brother of first lady Michele Obama and Oregon University basketball head coach.

For this Blogger, James Dolan gets major credit for hiring and supporting qualified people regardless of their race and ethnicity.  Still, being sensitive to racial issues does not make one a good corporate manager and Dolan certainly could have made better decisions in the Browne debacle which ultimately damaged reputations and perhaps a couple of careers because of its very public revelations.

But Steve Mills should be fine, especially since the NBA protects its own more than the po-po or a group of personal injury lawyers.

KNOTES

Welcome home brother Steady; thrilled to see ya and love that avatar. . . . Bill Russell pisses off Marbury detractors by telling the truth about Knicks Management’s botched effort to squeeze money and humiliation out of Marbury.  Sure Marbury screwed the Knicks, but the Knicks f’d up their own rep by holding onto Marbury too long and treating him like shyte.  All Walsh had to do was let him go.  So if legend Russell feels that way about how the Knicks treat their players, what do you think Wade and LeBron think about the Knicks.  Fukget the script. It been flipped over on the Knicks. Back to reality. . . . Oh, check out Pat Riley as he takes care of his number 1 priority — DWade — before 2010, thereby ending any notion that Wade and LeBron will both join the Knicks either together or individually. . . .We’re twittering baby. We welcome our twitter followers to the fold. . . . ThrillWill is twittering and he is a trip or just a young kid.  I’ll let you decide. . . . .Gotta go play hoops.  Later.

May 8, 2009 Posted by | James Dolan, Steve MIlls | , , , | 27 Comments