Let’s cut right to the chase: the New York Knicks won’t be in the NBA Playoffs this summer and taking a cursory look at the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings, if the NBA season were to end today, the 27-34 Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets would make the cut.
But, so what?
With all due respect to Chicago, Los Angeles and every other major city in the United States of America, New York City is The mecca of basketball. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bernard King, Mark Jackson, Nate Archibald, Kenny Anderson, Rod Strickland, Stephon Marbury and Julius Erving are all NBA legends that represent NYC with a badge of honor.
The product on the floor has to grow because the legacy depends on it. The Rucker Park experience was legendary, games at West 4th has always been a ‘thing.’
The summer hoops experience is a thing!
Here’s a novel idea: the Big 3 should has their basketball game on June 27 in New York City. Their schedule online states that the venue hasn’t been announced.
Here’s an idea: have it at Madison Square Garden.
Since the league’s inception in 2017, the Big 3 has always had their game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
No discrespect to the borough of Brooklyn, but MSG is in Manhattan and the Knicks were here first.
Having a game at MSG could be the start and/or a peace treaty for what’s going on in Manhattan right now.
For those keeping score at home: On Monday evening, a video surfaced via Twitter of longtime Knicks fan, Spike Lee arguing with Madison Square Garden security. “Because no one told me,” Lee said in the background to Madison Square Garden security over a disagreement surrounding whether Lee could enter through an employee entrance at The World’s Most Famous Arena rather than the VIP entrance that many celebrities enter.
“No one told me, I’m staying here,” Spike Lee told the security.
“If you want to arrest like Charles Oakley, go the f*** ahead. Oh, you going to arrest me? Put my hands behind my back like my brother, Charles Oakley.”
Since Monday’s incident, Lee made his media rounds and told ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith, Molly Querim and Max Kellerman that he wouldn’t be attending any more Knicks games for the rest of the NBA season.
Lee’s wrath may have been felt, too. According to Bleacher Report, the Knicks played the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night and drew the smallest home crowd in over 13 years.
Worth noting: Lee’s reference to Charles Oakley surrounds an incident from 2017 that involved the Knicks legend, Charles who was arrested after shoving MSG Security.
Oakley was banned from Madison Square Garden and the incident went to court. Since then, Oakley’s ban has been lifted.
Last year, I asked the legend if he’d consider coming back. “I don’t know about that one,” he told me.
“You saw what happened, that would be tough for anyone. It was wrong, what happened. It just…sh– happened like it did in the 60s, 50s and 40s, it aint changed.”
That leads me back to my headline and my summer basketball portion. Oakley is employed by Ice Cube’s Big 3 Basketball.
There is an unannouced game on June 27 and his ban has been lifted. *wink wink*
If the Knicks or Madison Square Garden want to extend any sort of olive branch to Oakley, it should start with Knicks owner James Dolan and Oakley burying the hatchet, publicly; if MSG gets that game.
I’m told an announcement on where The Big 3’s New York Trip will be announced fairly soon.
That’s only phase one, though. NBA Free Agency is the next step. Kyrie Irving was never coming to play for the Knicks an Kevin Durant gave it a thought.
The Knicks salvaged their offseason by signing Bobby Portis, Julus Randle, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson.
That said: the Knicks have salary cap space. Chris Paul is the latest NBA free agency rumor surfacing.
Will it be? Could it be? We’ll see!
With the addition of new Knicks President, Leon Rose who has a rolodex of relationships, coupled with the Knicks’ salary cap space, NY has the potential to turn things around in two years. “They have to live up to their potential,” TNT’s Kenny Smith told me back in the fall.
“What pick was Dennis Smith? 7? 6? Top ten? He has to be a top 10 pick this year. He can grow into that. RJ Barrett, he’s a number 3 pick, he’s gotta be a number 3 pick to pan out. Julius Randle; they all have to. They have to mature into their number pick, they have to be that this year. So D’Angelo Russell; matured into that. It took him four years. They gotta catch like D’Angelo Russell did last year, you know? You’re the number 2 pick? Alright, you’re the all-star! That’s what has to happen and both of those guys have that.”