I am not a Knicks fan.
Considering this audience, I’m not sure whether I should apologize for that, or thank [insert your God here] for it. Maybe both.
I grew up in Boston, but my first real memories of Celtics basketball prominently involved Chris Ford, M.L. Carr, and Rick Pitino. Not exactly a nurturing environment for a young hoops fan.
So I’m not a Celtics fan. For reasons unknown, I never latched onto another NBA franchise for fan-dom’s sake. For the better part of my life, I’ve been walking adrift in the NBA universe with no allegiance to one team over the rest. I like to tell people that it’s because I don’t root for laundry, but that isn’t entirely true, because I’m a huge New England Patriots fan. But in the NBA? I’m agnostic.
I have been told this is weird.
All things considered, I probably SHOULD have been a Knicks fan. The last time they were in the Finals I was in diapers (although I was ten at the time, so I probably shouldn’t admit that), but they had a great deal of success throughout the decade in which my brain started to develop an affinity for pro basketball. On top of that, on some level I’m sure I was afraid that if I didn’t root for the Knicks, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley would beat the shit out of me (I know one Knicks fan who uses this rationale).
But still, for the better part of my life, I’ve remained ambivalent about the Knicks. I’ve followed the pattern of rooting for teams that fit with my NBA world-view (playing fast, shooting threes, valuing versatility over size). As such, I rooted for the Suns in the mid-2000s, the Heat since 2011, and I even had a brief fling with the Nuggets last season (although we broke up this summer and it’s been rather painful; I don’t like to talk about it). The Knicks now fit this world-view.
This is not to say that I now bleed Blue and Orange. I just have a general affinity for the team, more so than I do for a team like, say, Chicago or Indiana or Memphis or Brooklyn. In fact, I’d consider myself both a Heat “fan” and a Knicks “fan,” an idea that I’m sure many find perplexing. But I want the Knicks to succeed. It’s just that the reasons why I want that are tough to verbalize.
For a writer, this is embarrassing.
I want the Knicks to succeed for selfish reasons. I want them to succeed because they (somewhat) fit my vision of what a successful team “should” look like, and therefore justifying my own opinions. I prefer teams that space the floor, shoot threes, play a ton of pick-and-roll, and don’t isolate inefficient scorers for low-leverage shots. The 2013 Regular season Knicks were great. The 2013 postseason Knicks were not.
I want the Knicks to succeed because the New York media machine would have a field day. The NBA Finals are generally a zoo regardless, but the NBA Finals in New York would be like the green zone of Baghdad – relatively safe, but otherwise absolute chaos. For some reason I would find this delightful.
I want the Knicks to succeed because the NBA Blogosphere deserves it. Just by nature of being the team from the biggest city in the country, there are roughly 174,000 Knicks fan bloggers on the internet. Of course, within that huge number there is a lot of noise, but some of the best NBA bloggers on the planet happen to be Knicks fans. I’m not going to list them all, only because I’d inevitably leave a few off and feel guilty about it later, but they’re out there if you look for them. Some of them are my bosses here (hi Mike, Jim, and Bob!), and a few of them I even consider friends. All of them are much better at this than I am.
But I’m excited to be a part of the never-ending conversation surrounding the Knicks. A team with effectively unlimited resources (at least by NBA standards), that also constantly continues to shoot itself in the foot, intrigues me. The one-step-forward-two-steps-back routine is understandable for a small-market team that has to keep their belt tight and keep an eye out for the bottom line at all times. But for a team that practically has a mint in their basement and can pay a $50 million luxury tax bill with the change between their sofa cushions?
That’s weird. But it’s fascinating. And I’m looking forward to jumping in head-first.