As you may know, on Sunday February 20th Amar’e Stoudemire will become the first Knick to start in the NBA All-Star Game since Patrick Ewing did so in 1992. In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to take a look back at the ten greatest moments in Knicks All-Star history, including a couple great moments from the larger All-Star Weekend. Some of these come from the recent past, while others date back to a time before I, and perhaps some of you, were alive. What all these moments have in common is that they show that Knicks players know how to step up for the Midseason Classic.
4. Latrell Sprewell’s Redemption (2001)
When the Knicks traded away John Starks, Chris Mills, and Terry Cummings to the Golden State Warriors in February 1999, many fans and commentators thought the move was far too risky. Just 14 months earlier, Sprewell had been suspended by the NBA for a year after choking Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo in practice. Not only was Sprewell’s behavior a concern, but many thought that that much time off from the League–in addition to his 12-month suspension, the lockout pushed his Knicks debut back another two months–would result in some serious rustiness. Sprewell proved the doubters wrong, though, when he led the eighth-seeded Knicks to the Finals of the shortened 1999 season, where they lost in five games to the Spurs. After another season and a half of great playing, Sprewell was voted an All-Star in 2001. Although he had played in the game three previous times (1994, 1995, and 1997), his 2001 appearance was not only a classic example of personal redemption but proof that sometimes the riskiest decisions end up also being the smartest ones.