Dear New Knicks’ Fan,
I’m writing this in order to clear the air. I don’t look to create a division between old and new Knick fans. I just want there to be an understanding. I won’t pass judgment. Look, I get it. Why would you cheer for the home team when the home team gives you no reason to cheer? With a generation of millennials urging instant gratification, I can understand how easy of a choice it must have been to cheer for those teams that were always above .500. Everyone wants that satisfaction, and there aren’t many greater satisfactions than winning. So I understand why you cheered for the Lakers, the Celtics, the Cavaliers, the Mavericks, and ANY, other team playing winning ball. Like I said, I get it.
I’m not here to pass judgment; rather, I’m here to offer an explanation. An explanation as to why if the Knicks continue playing winning basketball, I’m politely asking you to refrain from calling yourself a fan.
You can call yourself a “rooter”, as it is as unappealing to say as your newfound fandom of my team is to digest.
See, us Knicks fans have suffered. Mightily. It’s been a long time since we had any taste of success. The losing became the culture. For the past decade we’ve had nothing more than the ray of hope that comes complimentary to every fan of every team at the beginning of every season, but that ray would quickly become covered by the clouds of poor management, poor coaching, and a poor attitude. Trust me, it wasn’t easy to root for a team consisting of Howard Eisley, Shandon Anderson, Clarence Weatherspoon, Kurt Thomas, and Michael Doleac. As a huge Allan Houston fan, watching his career decline (along with our cap space) was difficult. And those were just some of the transgressions of the first half of the decade. No need to get into any of the stains left behind by the evil villains named Marbury and Isiah. The list of names that just bring painful memories in the past decade is too long (for reflection’s sake, let’s just try off memory: Jerome James, Eddy Curry, Lee Nailon, Moochie Norris, Steve Francis, Antonio Davis, Glen Rice, etc, etc..).
But, even through all of that, us TRUE Knick fans that cheered during the 90’s remained and endured the pain. Like in every relationship that eventually becomes abusive, there were some good moments along the way. We actually made the playoffs in 2004 (it was a bright spot despite the first round sweep to NJ). Then there was David Lee and Nate Robinson who both came in together. Knick fans witnessed Lee’s development from a blue collar, hustle player to MVP of the Rookie vs Sophomore game to an NBA All-Star. And for all of his antics and knucklehead plays, KryptoNate was still a fan favorite and those Slam Dunk Championships he brought to New York did, indeed, feel good.
Fast forward to the 2010-11 season. The Knicks are once again relevant. Our games are back on national TV. We are over .500. Just got off an 8- game winning streak. A’mare Stoudemire is an MVP candidate. Raymond Felton is playing like an All-Star. Rookie Landry Fields is the 2nd best rookie this year, behind the 2010 version of Shawn Kemp playing LaLa land. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler have added amazing support. We have cap space, thanks to Donnie Walsh. Mike D’Antoni has altered his offense from the “Seven Seconds or Less” format to more of a half-court, pick-and-roll set. And, of course, the rumors of Carmelo Anthony’s demanding to come to NY always put a smile on my face. Now, the Knicks are not by any means the best team in the league. We still have a long way to go. But considering where we were just a year ago, the change has been remarkable.
I see how it can be “cool” to be a Knicks fan now. At first, I’ll admit, I was annoyed. Now I just welcome it. I welcome all you new Knick rooters. I hope you stick around. We take our team very seriously and we’re very passionate. Just understand that you’re going to rub a few die-hard fans the wrong way, but it’s going to be a fun trip.
I just hope that you can find a comfortable spot on a full bandwagon.
A die-hard Knick fan