Knicks’ train wreck hits rock bottom
A dozen security guards handcuffing and dragging out a legendary player from courtside seats in the middle of a game would probably be considered the most embarrassing thing ever for almost every sports team.
Unfortunately — or fortunately — the New York Knicks are unlike any other sports team.
I have been going to New York Knicks games since the early 1990s. I am not a fan of Knicks — actually I’m a hater — but I love the NBA and Madison Square Garden, with all of its history, is certainly an exciting place to watch games.
The Knicks have not won an NBA title in 44 years and have won only one playoff series in the last 17 tears, but, unlike the Cubs, the Knicks are not the “loveable losers.”
The Knicks charge far more for tickets than any NBA team, have by far the highest prices for concessions ($12 per beer), typically have one of the highest payrolls in the NBA and usually have the highest paid coaches and general managers in the NBA.
The Yankees spend money, have obnoxious fans and win titles. The Knicks spend money, have obnoxious fans and lose.
But unlike most losing teams, the Knicks remain in the spotlight. They sell out every game, celebrities are always courtside, and when a LeBron James or Steph Curry come to town, it is the place to be in a city with a lot of places to be.
The owner of the Knicks, Jim Dolan, is totally responsible for this train wreck.
He is a wannabe musician who rents out venues for his group, “JD and the Straight Shot” and is, of course, enamored by celebrity.
From Pat Riley to Isiah Thomas to Larry Brown to Phil Jackson, it’s been a who’s who of NBA lore who have coached or managed the Knicks during Dolan’s reign.
Just one of them, Riley, has been successful, and, tellingly, he submitted his resignation by fax.
I was at the game last week against the Nuggets, one game after the Charles Oakley altercation.
It was very ironic because in 2011 a trade with the Nuggets, the Knicks relegated themselves to a decade of losing by trading four good young players and a draft pick to obtain Carmelo Anthony — instead of waiting until the end of the season and signing him as a free agent.
Jackson has publicly criticized Anthony, and now the fans have turned on Jackson, Anthony and Dolan.
They are booing everyone.
Oakley played for the Knicks for 10 years and was known for his tough and aggressive play and for being an excellent defensive player.
He has been a long-time critic of Dolan for how the team has been run and was incensed that he was not included in any of the team’s 70-year anniversary celebrations.
Even though Oakley is at fault for pushing a security officer, Knick fans are rallying behind him because: 1) He represents a toughness that the current team lacks; 2) He is now an enemy of Dolan.
And that has now made him the most popular Knick of this most forgettable decade.
Ira Kaufman is an Altoona native and traveling sports fan. He resides in New York City.