Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

Everything But Nets

Posted: April 8, 2011 by Keith Stone in Knicks, Nets, Proky, rants, Yinka Dare

The thing about little brothers is that it’s important to make sure they know their place. When he thinks he’s the man because he just got a driver’s license, hook up with his girlfriend. Tonight, Carmelo is going to make a sex tape with Kim Kardashian. It’s not that I hate the Nets. They’re just inferior and will always be whether they play in Long Island, Piscataway, the Meadowlands, Newark, Seaside Heights, or Brooklyn.


It’s not that their name ends in “-ets.” It’s that they changed it purposely to rhyme with the Mets and Jets. Anytime you’re doing something to copy the Mets and Jets, you might have a problem. Their relevance and legitimacy was done from that moment forward. Yeah, I know the Knicks are named after a piece of clothing. But really, you should have been in the city in the 1600’s. They were all the rage.

While true that the two teams have never played an extremely meaningful game (although Bernard King dropped a franchise-record 60 points on the Nets on Christmas Day 1984), the Knicks have had a major impact on the Nets’ history. In 1976, when the Nets were entering the NBA, the Knicks forced them to pay $4.8 million for entering their territory. The Nets couldn’t afford it and were forced to sell Dr. J. And so, the Knicks deprived the Nets of one of the greatest players the game has ever seen and banished them to the cellar for years.

Even when the Nets were successful and went to the Finals, it was during one of the weakest periods in the NBA, especially the East. The Nets got the 1-seed in 2002 with 52 wins! It was the most wins in franchise history! Three teams have that many in the Eastern Conference this year and there’s still a week left.

Who did the Nets have to go up against during their glory years? Allen Iverson? Paul Pierce? Baron Davis? Scary. The Knicks had Jordan, Bird, the Bad Boys, Shaq, and Alonzo Mourning. Sorry we couldn’t defend homecourt against the ’93 Bulls. Kenyon Martin would have pissed his pants going toe-to-toe with Oak, Mase, and the X-Man. Throw that Knick team in the early 00’s and there wouldn’t be enough room at MSG to hang all the banners.

Our teams actually had personality. It’s not that we think John Starks is the best player alive but he went from stocking shelves in a supermarket in Oklahoma to dunking over Horace Grant and Michael Jordan in a matter of a few years. What could you say about the Nets? Jason Kidd beat his wife. Keith Van Horn was white. Kerry Kittles’s dad danced with the cheerleaders. K-Mart had lips tattooed on his neck.

We might not be the smartest basketball fans. We are smart but the Warriors do have a lot of Asian fans. I would have to say, however, that we’re the most appreciative fans. We see the nuances of the game and let our guys know that their hard work is recognized because New Yorkers are hard-working people. We’d rather see somebody dive out of bounds to save the ball than a spectacular dunk. People from New Jersey are just New Yorkers that can’t handle the hustle and bustle (™Clyde Frazier). They’d rather catch a T-shirt during a timeout than anything.

That’s why I was shocked to hear the Garden is a homecourt disadvantage. Our teams weren’t always better than our opponents but the fans consistently make our guys play better than they’re capable of playing. There’s no way the 4-point play happens if the crowd doesn’t keep it close with deafening chants of “DEEEEEEE-FENSE” throughout the closing minutes.

There’s a myth that the Knicks, especially Patrick Ewing, always choked it up at home. There’s a ton of memorable clutch moments to prove otherwise. Ewing coming back from a sprained ankle to take the Bulls to a Game 7 in ’92. The Dunk. Ewing’s putback to send the Knicks to the ’94 Finals. Ewing’s Game 5 winner in the ’95 Semis. Ewing blocking Tim Hardaway’s last-second shot to put the Knicks up 3-1 in ’97 Semis. The 4-point play. Allan Houston going bonkers to send the Knicks to the ’99 Finals after LJ went down. The list goes on and on. The ’99 Knicks started Chris Fucking Dudley at center in the Finals and they still managed to win a game against the Spurs at the Garden. This was a Spurs team that started David Robinson and Tim Duncan and swept really good Lakers and Blazers teams. I can’t think of a single memorable Nets moment besides going to overtime in Game 5 against the Pacers in ’02 and that was in the first round.

If anything, the Knicks’ problem has been poor timing while the Nets picked exactly the right opportunity to peak. A lot of good it did them. Within a few years, Jason Kidd forced his way out of town and they were challenging for the NBA’s all-time worst record. Their owner used the team to leverage his way to a very, very shady real estate deal in Brooklyn and then sold them to an even shadier guy. At least we know what we’re getting in Jim Dolan. And his music really isn’t that bad. I have to say that his band is the best jazz group I’ve ever seen on YouTube. Proky couldn’t get any free agents and then signed Travis Outlaw to the worst deal of the summer. The only thing more pathetic was the lame billboard they put up on 8th Ave. And Brett Yormark is a douchebag. I just hope for their sake Deron Williams chooses to re-sign. He’d look awfully good in orange and blue. Luckily, the YES Network is actually televising tonight’s Knicks-Nets “game.” I will admit they have the best play-by-play guy in the biz.

Since I am a Knicks fan, which means I’m very classy, I would like to wish the Nets the best of luck in this year’s draft lottery. As for tonight, Melo, and Kim K, it’s just…

[Editor’s note: The Knicks defeated the Nets 116-93]

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>Shove It Up Your Knickhole

Posted: April 5, 2011 by Keith Stone in Isiah, JD and the Straight Shot, Knicks, Nets, rants

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The dominant headline of this NBA season has clearly been the Miami Heat. They have become the team people love to hate, as articles about them crying generate more attention than the actual game. However, I would not mind seeing the Miami Cheat taking home the title. Nor would I mind the Los Angeles Fakers, nor the Boston…um…let’s go with Smelltics

Why?

Because that means that the Knicks didn’t win.

When it comes to local sports team rivalries, the animosity between Nets and Knicks fans is quite bizarre. Reasonably, these two fanbases have little reason to hate each other. They’ve played in two first round playoff series in 35 years. When one team was up, the other team was down – they basically switch roles every decade. I can’t even recall one game you would call “classic” between the two franchises. So why the insults, the chest-thumping, the vile-spewing, and the all-in-all non-well-wishingness?

Basically, the New York sports landscape is shaped by the big brother/little brother relationship. The Yankees and the Mets. The Giants and the Jets. Unfortunately, this also extends to the Knicks and the Nets. However, the Knicks have been the Cooper Manning of older brothers. Since the Nets entered the NBA, the Knicks have won two Eastern Conference titles, and three division titles, while the Nets have two Eastern Conference titles as well, but four division titles. Granted, the Knicks won two NBA titles, but they were during a time when the NBA talent level was diluted by the ABA, where, interestingly enough, the Nets won two championships as well. Granted, I’ll admit the Knicks did have many more memorable playoff series in their 90’s run than the Nets had in the 00’s, but I can pride myself as a Nets fan to say that they never lost a series in which they had homecourt advantage.

So where does this “big brother” attitude come from? The Yankees and the Giants dominate their respective little siblings in titles; their fanbases have earned their arrogance and cockiness. Unless the prerequisite for being the “little brother” is that your team name ends in “-ets”, there is little distinguishing the two teams.

That’s is the main crux of my Knicks hate-itude – a completely undeserved bravado, a false sense being one of the NBA’s storied franchises, a fucktastic douchebagicity. However, as I may be bombarded after this post by Knicks fans wearing Carmelo Anthony jerseys they hastily made with the number “15” because they aren’t true fans who know their own franchise’s history, let me get a few more shots in.

I’ve heard Bill Simmons comment a few time that Knicks fans are the “smartest basketball fans.” Sure. The most objective Knicks fan I found ranks John Starks as one of the top 10 players of all time, rather than the top 5. And to watch them defend Patrick Ewing’s career is like hearing a six-year-old explain how Santa Claus delivers presents all over the world in one night.

I also freely admit that the Continental Arena/Izod Center is the dumpiest place on Earth, and Madison Square Garden is a legendary arena. However, let’s be honest – it is not known for great Knicks performances. When you think of MSG, you think of other team’s players destroying the Knicks – Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James. To me, it looks like there is a homecourt disadvantage when playing in the Garden. That must be why the Knicks are struggling so much at the end of this season (either that or they suck).

But, it isn’t all hate. I love Clyde Frazier’s vocabulary. I love JD & the Straight Shot. But most of all, I love Isiah Thomas. For four and a half glorious years, he brought me some of the greatest stories and highlights in sports history (and partially distracted me from the terrible job Rod Thorn was doing). And it looks like Isiah will be back for more. This season has been a dark cloud for Knicks-haters, but fear not – Isiah is our silver lining.

Keith Stone’s Rebuttal

>Fear

Posted: February 10, 2011 by Keith Stone in Knicks, rants

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For me, the theme of the Knicks season has been fear and overcoming it. Amar’e Stoudemire and Ray Felton weren’t afraid to accept the challenge of reviving a downtrodden franchise. Young guys like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, and Shawne Williams haven’t been afraid to step up when the team has needed them. And the fans, we’re never been afraid to make some noise.

After a 3-8 start, the Knicks have shown no fear with wins over the Spurs, Heat, Thunder, and Bulls. That’s four of the best seven teams in the league. On the back of Amar’e’s 26.2 points-per-game, they were playing like we all wanted them to: running, shooting, hustling, playing a little D. It seemed like every night there was another hero. Shawne hitting a big 3. Gallo driving unabashedly to the hole. Even Timmy Mozgov with a double-double. There was a different aura around the team than there’s been since Jeff Van Gundy resigned. There was hope.

After last night’s 116-108 loss to the Clippers at the Garden, it seems like the luster has faded a bit on this feelgood story. Then, Amar’e came out and said the words that I least wanted to hear, “Seemed like we were afraid out there.” He added, “I said it before the game that we have to have supreme focus. I guess they figured I was talking to the wall because we didn’t come out with any focus. You can tell before the game. You can tell…that guys weren’t ready to go.” Last night’s game was unacceptable. We’re 51 games into the season. When the franchise player tells you to go out and play with some heart, you go do it. You don’t let DeAndre Jordan dunk four times.
So what’s the problem? It looks like the small rotation is starting to take a toll. Amar’e’s knees are holding up but when he was lying on the court last night in pain, but heart was in my stomach. Felton has been playing with a banged-up ankle. Gallo, Chandler, and Ronny Turiaf have all missed time with injuries but are pushing on. Did the Knicks get complacent? Did they forget the fire they had earlier in the season? For a while, they were looking like a lock for the 6-seed in the East but now the Sixers are 2.5 games back and have been playing well.
It’s possible that a Knicks team with low expectations and youthful exuberance started out the season unafraid because they didn’t know how to be, like someone climbing a mountain for the very first time. All of a sudden you look down and you don’t realize how high you’ve climbed. You look up and it’s snowing and you have no idea what’s it’s going to take to reach the top. Then, you’re afraid. Sometimes the fear of success is almost as great as the fear of losing. I think the Knicks have reached that point.
We haven’t even talked about Carmelo yet. He’s been looming over the entire season ever since Queen James spurned the team. We looked at LeBron like a superhero who would save the franchise. Now Carmelo has taken his place but I don’t see him as a quick fix especially after last night’s game. Carmelo will bring scoring, but will he bring toughness, heart, and defense? Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have him on the team for the right price and I think he makes the Knicks immediately better, but does he get them to top of the mountain? He’s like a Sherpa bringing supplies. It helps but ultimately the climber has to have enough fortitude and courage himself to do what he previously thought was impossible.
The Carmelo situation has probably affected some members of the team that might not be here in a couple of weeks, wrongly or rightly so. You can’t control injuries but you can control what happens when somebody goes to the hoop. That’s what the Knicks need to focus on. They probably won’t win the Trophy this year but there’s still a lot at stake. The hopes of the fanbase for the past 10 years are on the line. More importantly, Knickerbocker Pride is on the line. Poor preparation, disinterest and fear can never happen.
After losing a bad game to the Rockets earlier in the season, Amar’e had a similar diatribe and the Knicks ripped off 13 of 14.  Regardless of how the Melodrama plays out, Amar’e is my superhero and this season will revolve around how he rallies his teammates. The have overcome it before, but not with this many injuries and question marks. In the name of Charles Oakley, I think Amar’e will never let this happen again. The Knicks will not be afraid to keep climbing the mountain.