When enough isn’t enough

I’m legit hurting in my soul right now.

I though I was done with caring for the Knicks, but last night proved I was only kidding myself.

In case you haven’t heard (or don’t care, it’s ok) the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Order was determined last night.  Each year, the leagues worst teams get to find out in what order they will be selecting players from June’s upcoming draft.  This is significant because NY’s last great player (sorry Carmelo) was selected 30 years ago.  Patrick Ewing was the #1 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.  Knick fans were hoping to strike gold again in this year’s lottery, and they deserved to.  The New York Knicks had the worst record in the NBA for almost the entire season.  They were “tanking” or deliberately loosing games to improve their draft position.  The worst record in the NBA guarantees that a team will have the greatest number of ping pong balls, which equates to the greatest probability of earning the right to choose first in the draft.  All projections had the Knicks earning the #1 pick for their efforts, with even the most extreme models showing them no lower than #2.

But the Knicks had to go ahead an Knick.  For no reason whatsoever, they went on an uncalled for streak to end the season, winning 3 out of their final 6.  Because of this Minnesota (who wasn’t tanking as obviously as the Knicks were) ended the season with the worst record by a single game, and thus the greatest chance for that coveted #1.

So what did the Knicks earn for their untimely righting of the ship at the end of the season?

The 2nd pick?  Nope.

The 3rd pick? Wrong again.

The 4th pick?  Bingo.

4th.  This may not seem like a big deal but it is.  This year’s draft features 3 virtual can’t miss rookie NBA draft prospects.  New York went from having their pick of the best, to potentially missing out on all of them.  That’s why Knicks General Manager Steve Mills has his MJ cry head on.  He knows his organization just blew a golden opportunity to start over fresh.

But these are the Knicks we’re talking about here.

LEBRON XI

So I just scooped these LeBron XI’s. Wasn’t really intending to purchase but I came across a pretty good deal (never retail 😉 ). They were apparently worn one time, but there is honestly little evidence of this. The 11th edition to Nike’s LeBron line (the 12th installment dropped a few weeks ago) these are known as the “Miami Nights” edition, from when LeBron still played for the Heat in south Florida. I really appreciate the carbon fiber which is ever so nicely broken up by the splashes of hot pink peaking out from under the uppers. It’s a beautiful day so I thought, “Why not a photo shoot?” Enjoy.

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From Heartache to Indiference

I’ve followed the New York Knicks for over 25 years.  My first game was back during the ’88-’89 season.  I was so hyped to be in the Mecca of Basketball: Madison Square Garden.  The Knicks enjoyed a good deal of success in the 90’s, reaching the NBA Finals in ’94 and ’99 (they lost both times).  But since then, it has been a steady decline into a state of utter squalor.

The on the court performance of the Knicks used to cause me a great deal of consternation; my mood would literally be dictated by whether they were winning games or not.  My frustration would sky rocket; “How could they play so poorly?”  We got to do better against Boston when we see them again in March!”  I should have known I was too invested when I spoke about the team in the terms of “we”.  I wasn’t apart of the Knicks organization in anyway.  The 2000 – 2010 was a very dark time for the Knicks franchise.  The Isaiah Thomas regime, multiple scandals and off the court issues, terrible draft choices compounded by even worse contracts just further exacerbated things.

It was after this that I came to an amazing realization: The Knicks are not great, or even good at basketball because they don’t want to be.  All their moves, positioning, and posturing are just feints.  From top to bottom, the organization has no sincere interest in being great, because there is no incentive for them to do so as long as “loyal” fans such as myself continue to pledge our undying support and allegiance.

Think about it: if you employ a product, service, or person, your continued patronage of said item is based upon it’s performance.  Within reason, you will allow for some wiggle room and opportunity for improvement, but eventually it becomes clear that whatever it is, is what it is.  No matter how much you wanted something to be other, it is what it is.

The applications of this ground breaking concept extend far beyond the basketball court.  If something is not working for you, ask yourself why am I still dealing with this? Or better yet, does this thing that i’m so heavily invested in emotionally have any tangible bearing on my existence?  I have nothing against rooting for a team, or believing the best about a person, place, or thing and taking steps to believe the best or that it can change, but at some point these questions must be asked.

As for me and the Knicks, I’ve gone from borderline grief about a recent loss, to catching a game every now and then, to not even knowing they played last night (they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the worst teams in the league).  When I did realize they had a game, I checked the score, shook my head, and went about my business.

Rewriting the Narrative

Mark Duncan AP

It almost never happens.Very few people get the opportunity to rewrite the narrative of their lives.  The reason is obvious: it isn’t until the consequences of our choices are made clear do we know if they were good or bad.

Last Friday NBA Superstar LeBron James began rewriting his own narrative, as well as the City of Cleveland’s.  In a move that was considered unfathomable, James signed a two year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team he scorned by leaving without warning 4 years ago to join the Miami Heat.  LeBron instantly became NBA public enemy #1, a title held before by the likes of Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, guys who actually had run afoul of the law in some regard.

Admittedly James himself was taken surprised by the backlash.  It wasn’t just Cleveland and Ohio sports fans who were angry with him.  The media successfully painted him as a selfish athlete, who cared more about taking the easy way out (James spent the first 7 years of his career in Cleveland but failed to win an NBA title) than working through adversity.  The fact that James teamed up with fellow superstars and off the court friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  Despite the Heat  reaching the NBA Finals 4 years in a row, and wining two NBA Championships, it didn’t remove the tarnished image of deceit and betrayal in the eyes of many.

To be fair to LeBron, the goal of most professional athletes is to win titles and championships.  It is what ultimate defines an athletes career as a success, or a failure.   The Cavalier team LeBron was on just wasn’t good enough to reach that goal, so he did what was best for him and changed his situation for a better one.

It is a hard thing to make a right a wrong, especially when you don’t have to.  LeBron didn’t owe Cleveland anything.  Some would even argue he should have left earlier than he did.  But LeBron is wise enough to understand that with this act, he can win back the hearts he lost, at the same time cement his place in history.  Just look at how Cleveland and the NBA have applauded his move so far; one forgets that now Miami is Cleveland of 2010, where Wade and Bosh are left scratching their heads.

We have all experienced similar occurrences.  An ex who actually returns your stuff, a teacher you were at odds with giving you a C when you really deserved an F, your pest of a sibling who took the rap for you that one time you were really in for it.  When people exhibit acts of virtue and integrity, you see them in a whole new light.  It’s as if all the bad stuff they’ve done in the past is erased.  They are showing the ability to grow and evolve, by learning from their mistakes.  No one with a heart can frown at that: their rewritting the narrative.

Although i’m a New York Knicks loyalist (sup Nasir) i’m proud of LeBron.  It’s a very risky but stand up move that will make or break his career.  But LeBron has already won what really matters.