By Mark McCormick, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
I suppose the first step in combatting a problem is admission of guilt. As a devout Boston Celtics fan, I have committed treason. This deceit comes in the form of a secret and well-hidden man crush for the New York Knicks and all of the glitz and glamour that is carried with the franchise; the allure of Madison Square Garden, the countless number of greats that have come from New York City, Coney Island and other basketball epicenters that make New York crucial to the NBA and basketball in general.
The Knicks are a symbol of excellence, regardless of recent performance.They have produced magical moments from such greats as Willis Reed, Elgin Baylor, and Patrick Ewing. Under the guidance of Isiah Thomas, the Knicks became irrelevant due to painfully inept leadership that left everyone scratching their heads. “What the hell are they thinking?” and “How much money did they give Keith Van Horn?” was a common sentiment. Egregious contract signings included Jared Jeffries, Stephon Marbury(now playing in China, damn Steph), Eddy Curry and millions to alcoholic center Vin Baker, who we all hope is still on the wagon. God speed Vin.
Post-Isaiah, the combined genius of Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoini have made the Knicks relevant again. The best part is that their mission is just beginning. After a sultry summer that saw a new big three form in South Beach, Melo and Chris Paul added to the intrigue by toasting at Melo’s wedding to play together one day. CP3 appears to be tied to New Orleans, as ownership is reluctant to trade their best player and one of few draws that putts asses in the seats. CP3 may be out, but where does that leave Carmelo? We’ll tackle that later.
GM Walsh should be praised for creating the cap space that almost saw the Knicks acquire Lebron James as well as assembling a solid roster with the signings of Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Landry Fields. People fail to remember just how bad of a situation Walsh and D’Antoin inherited. They have done a Houdini-like act by trimming the fat and bringing the excitement back to MSG. The final feather in Walshs’ cap is that he knows the Knicks are poised to make a huge splash in 2011 free agency, having enough cap space to sign one max player. Who will it be?
Welcome home Carmelo! Being a member of the Knicks will be great for Melo as well as the NBA. David Stern needs the booming market that NYC has to offer to prosper as much as possible. Simply stated, it’s good business. The Garden is already sold out every night, good team or Vin Baker’s Knicks missing jumpers. But being featured on nationally televised games, challenging the Celtics and Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy while allowing Madison Square Garden to bask in all of its glory is something that every basketball fan should crave and will only make the league more profitable, competitive and balanced. Carmelo also will enjoy the fruits of this signing, with increased exposure to the multitude of media markets and outlets that New York possesses. Being a figurehead for the one of the best markets and the brand recognition that comes with that automatically increases notoriety. Translation: inordinate amounts of endorsement cash. Overall, great move for the NBA as well as Melo.
After the Nets trade saga, Melo has endured boos from his current home crowd in Denver. It represents the epitome of disrespect for a player that has played seven years with the same team, always playing hard and hitting the big shot. He’s matured from a young man being featured in gangster DVD’s in Baltimore, claiming “snitches end up in ditches” to a businessman who, regardless of the uncertainty of next year’s CBA, knows it’s time to go to the big stage, be the man, and cash in. Lebron couldn’t do that and he will always be remembered as the guy who was anointed to save the Knicks but couldn’t take the chance. Don’t make the same mistake Carmelo. You are too uniquely talented to not play in one of the best stadiums and cities that sports have to offer. Accept your position on the throne, a truly special place that has bared witness to stars such as Broadway Joe, Derek Jeter, and Mark Messier just to name a few. Get in to that New York State of mind and take the Heat to the cleaners. Just not the Celts. Go Green.