As I’ve written about before, the life of a Knicks fan is one of pure masochism. It’s season after season of delusionally elevated expectations followed by crushing disappointments; of seminal moments defined by ultimate failures; of dysfunctional roster after dysfunctional roster under the harsh glare of NY media. It's a sadistic commitment, and one that I’ve borne for most of my life.
Most the of abject letdowns have been largely to to our unrepentant clusterfuck of a front office.“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This has been the personal mission statement of one James L (which at this point I assume stands for Lucifer) Dolan, scourge of Madison Square Garden and archenemy of Knicks fans worldwide. There has yet to be a season in this century during Dolan’s reign that has not had the Knicks season overshadowed by management bullshit of epic proportions. There was the Allan Houston contract, the Isiah Thomas era — which included both that godawful Eddie Curry trade, Jerome James, a dismal coaching record, and a sexual harassment lawsuit (which makes his decision to put Thomas in charge of the New York Liberty even more preposterous) — and most recently, the hiring of Phil Jackson as the President of Basketball Operations.
Phil Jackson is many things. He is a legendary coach, a zen master, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also an unbelievably awful roster manager with a mean passive-aggressive streak who has dominated New York sports media with not-so-subliminal statements about wanting Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause.
On the surface, this seems fine enough. The experiment of Melo in NY seems to have largely fallen short, and we can potentially build a future around a young Porzingis and new blood. Except wasn’t one of Phil’s first moves in New York to resign Melo to the tune of $124 million? Does that sound like the actions of a man who doesn’t believe their megastar doesn’t care about winning? Can the same person who signed a lumbering center who can no longer even hit the rim on a free throw anymore to four years and 72 big ones claim to be more invested in winning than the franchise star? Most importantly, how does fundamentally disrespecting your star player on Twitter of all places — land of Trump word vomit and $200 date debates — compel any other team to see value in trading for him or convince free agents that New York is a good space to take your career? How does any of this get us out of the twelfth seed in the Eastern Conference???
As if that circus wasn't enough for Wilbon and Kornheiser to mock on the next episode of PTI, not 24 hours later we were greeted to a scene of Knicks legend and fan favorite Charles Oakley being detained, ejected, and arrested by approximately a dozen members of MSG security while Jimmy Dolan and his smarmy goatee looked on.
Look, if there are two things you need to know about Knicks fans, they would be 1) most of us would put hands on Reggie Miller on sight 2) we love Oak. There is no way in this universe that we would take the side of our insufferable front office and their predilection for finding new ways to run our team into the ground over a man who gave his blood, sweat, tears and fists, to the Knicks organization for a decade. You know it. I know it. Lebron knows it. Frank Isola knows it. And if Dolan thinks that suggesting that Oakley was abusive to him would put him on the right side of the PR war, he has gravely miscalculated New York’s distaste for him. It’s more likely that Oakley would receive a ticker tape parade after his court appearance.
Once again, the Knicks are a joke. Once again, it’s somehow Dolan’s fault. And once again, I’ll probably put myself through this bullshit again next year. In the meantime, in a tiny remote corner of my charred black heart, the hoodrat inside me is smiling about the fact that in 2017, 53 year old Charles Oakley is still about that life. It’s just enough to keep me from throwing away my old Knicks jersey dress.