Updated: Feb 15, 2021
My Knicks Journey
I was born August 2nd, 1987. That year the now disgraced Rick Pitino was roaming the Garden sidelines to a tune of a 38-44 record, a record we would run over fiery coals to obtain these days. Little did I know the 90’s and Pat Riley would turn this down-on-their luck franchise into a perennial winner with the help of Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and countless others. Growing up in the 90’s I fell in love with those hard-knock Knicks.
Embedded in the diverse culture of Brooklyn, there was one thing that united us all, the New York Knicks. Sitting on your front stoop, surrounded by your friends, and ripping open a pack of Upper Deck cards in hope of getting your favorite Knick was a joy I haven’t replicated until Pokem.. I mean that I haven’t replicated since.
I didn’t follow game by game in the early 90’s… my love of the Knicks was represented by my older sister Jody, my cousin Steven and their friends proudly wearing their Knick jerseys and the non-stop whispers of beating Jordan in a Semi-Finals one day… Those whispers always represented a unique NYC brand of hope, hope of a team that prided themselves on eliciting the cheer of defense, of a team that you could imagine one year knocking the Bulls on their collective asses.
The Knicks were so prevalent in NYC because they represented us as a whole. NYC was different than today. You still could have friends living in Manhattan that weren’t supported by trust funds and fine paying jobs were always there if you wanted one. There were still kids in the streets playing stickball and staying in the local park playing hoops with anyone and everyone. I had a local Yeshiva near me and we regularly played against the Orthodox Jewish community (who are some of the biggest Knicks fans) This was the same community who were separated from us in our day to day life, but when it came to hoops our love of the Knicks was what united us.
The late 90’s came and NBA Live was the game you had to have, even though you played with a boot-leg Jordan. Van Gundy took over and continued the lessons of the early 90s Knicks and all of us continued our adoration, this time with Houston/Sprewell. I remember being in Fire Island with my friend and watching the Finals on a stormy night on a 12” black and white TV trying to get the antennas in their right position to watch the Knicks eventually lose to the Spurs. Our love of the Knicks will never diminish, even through the tough losses.
And then came the 2000’s, for the sake of your mental health I will not review the past two decades, the only thing I will say is that I hope that these current Knicks can influence the young NYC kids of today, to be proud of their local basketball team. My young cousin can’t name one player on the Knicks, but can name everyone on Liverpool. Depressing.
In a few years from now I hope to see him taking a walk down to the local basketball court, with a Knicks jersey and a love of basketball that has been imprinted in me and with a team that we can both be proud of.
This was my Knicks journey, what was yours?