Aaron Leibowitz | The Fan
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 00:10
I am a Knicks fan. I don’t like the Knicks. This is a crucial distinction to make. I haven’t liked the Knicks since I was eight years old, when Patrick Ewing’s dunk in Game 7 against the Heat sent them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Since then, I’m not sure they’ve done a single thing right.
Between the trade of Ewing in 2000 and the failure to re−sign Jeremy Lin in 2012, the Knicks have built up a seemingly endless list of fiascos.
There was the Isiah Thomas era, full of head−scratcher moves, terrible coaching and a harassment scandal to boot. There was the disastrous trade for Eddy Curry and the brawl with the Nuggets. There was the failed Larry Brown experiment and the Stephon Marbury saga.
After nine straight losing seasons, the Knicks have made the playoffs in each of the last two years. But even recently they’ve been painful to root for.
In 2011, just as fans were beginning to grow attached to a young core of players, the Knicks blew up that core to acquire Carmelo Anthony, losing Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler in the process. ‘Melo is a phenomenal scorer. He is also a selfish person and a chemistry repellant.
This past offseason, due in large part to ‘Melo’s wishes, the Knicks chose not to bring back Jeremy Lin, their greatest source of excitement — and chemistry — since the Ewing years.
Now, they will begin a new season with the oldest roster in NBA history, a group with plenty of big names but little long−term promise.
The icing on the cake is James Dolan, the worst owner in professional sports, whose decisions continue to defy explanation and make even ‘Melo look mature.
And yet, on Thursday, when the Knicks play their season opener against the brand new Brooklyn Nets at the newly minted Barclays Center, I will be rooting hard for the orange and blue. For me, it’s the only option. I’m loyal to the logo.
At the same time, though, I know that I’ll be rooting with a tinge of reluctance. It’s like that restaurant you’ve been eating at forever: Even after a newer, cooler, and quite possibly better restaurant moves in next door, you keep going to the one you’ve always known because it’s part of who you are.
In the somewhat analogous Knicks case, though, the owner of that old restaurant is a jerk, and his chefs put out a sub−par product every night.
The Knicks I know, at least after age eight — the post−Ewing, post−likable Knicks — are not a team of which to be proud. For older fans who have seen the glory years of Frazier and Reed, Lucas and Monroe, the connection is different. But for my generation, it’s easy to see why the Brooklyn bandwagon is enticing. The Knicks are old, and their current roster has little hope to win a championship. The Nets are young, they have Deron Williams and Jay−Z, and soon enough they could have Dwight Howard.
More importantly, what the Brooklyn Nets have is a fresh start. They have a new city, new uniforms, a new arena. They have no dark past to carry around.
That’s the bitter irony: If any team could use a fresh start, it’s the Knicks. More than anything, they need to cleanse themselves of all the scandal and all the losing of the past 12 years.
But of course, that’s impossible. Isiah Thomas will continue to loom, literally and figuratively. James Dolan will continue to call the shots.
The Knicks’ problems aren’t going anywhere, and neither am I.
Aaron Leibowitz is a junior who is majoring in American studies. He can be reached at Aaron.Leibowitz@tufts.edu.