Back in 1991, while riding in the car with my father, an advertisement came on the radio about the Knicks first game of the season with their new head coach Pat Riley. I had no idea who Pat Riley was, no idea about his playing career with the Knicks or his two championships with the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers. I had never watched a Knicks game, but my father just had this ability to describe things in a colorful and exciting way, so when the advertisement came on the radio, he became excited which led to my excitement and all it took was for him to ask me the question: “do you want to watch the game tonight?” At the time we had cable, and I did watch the Bulls vs. Lakers NBA Finals. I was well aware of Michael Jordan, it was hard not to be back then, and Jordan’s emergence as an NBA champion had captivated most Americans and many in other countries around the world. I can’t remember who the Knicks played that night, but ever since, I’ve been a die-hard fan. I bleed orange and blue, and could not root for any other team, Patrick Ewing became my favorite player, and my disdain for Michael Jordan only grew throughout the years with every Knicks defeat by his Chicago Bulls.
I remember the creativity of Mark Jackson in 1992, along with his agony and pain when he was traded to the Clippers, next season. As one door closed another one open when the Knicks had signed the talented mercurial shooting guard John Starks out of the CBA who began his career with the Golden State Warriors like Jeremy Lin. Starks was very exciting. Current Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith reminds me of Starks a lot. There are many memorable moments I have of watching the Knicks, like when I was convinced as a child that we would never be able to stop Michael Jordan. It was a broken play that led to a dunk and a hard foul by Ewing and Xavier McDaniels, then Jordan immediately shouted at the two Knicks on the ground. The Dunk by John Starks was unbelievable, not only did he dunk on two Bulls players, one of them happen to be His Airness. The Knicks were eventually eliminated buy the Bulls.
The 1993-94 season is one I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. Jordan had retired do to the death of his father after winning his third NBA championship. Without Jordan, the Knicks had finally made it to the NBA Finals, the New York Rangers also made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and won. I remembered the buzz around the town, and everyone in New York was completely in favor for the hometown teams. I’ve never witnessed so many people rooting for one team…then tragedy my family struck! My mother whom had been diagnosed with cancer had become very sick, was admitted into the hospital. During Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals Knicks vs. Rockets, the game was interrupted by a white Ford Bronco racing down the highway, O.J. Simpson was being pursued by police vehicles in Los Angeles, and NBC decided it was a good idea to interrupt the broadcasting of the Finals to show this historic car chase. The Knicks managed to win that game and after, I remember praying to God to please take care of my mother while she was in the hospital. The next morning, I was in the kitchen eating cereal, and then the phone ringed, my father answered; it was my grandmother calling to tell him that my mother had passed away. I remember my father yelling out “What?”, then immediately going out into the backyard. He came back inside a minute later and delivered the news to me… that was probably the biggest turning point in my life. The Knicks ended up losing to the Rockets in seven games, but I had suffered the biggest lost of all. I always wondered what if….
What if Willis Reed’s injury didn’t halt his career?
What if the Knicks were able to trade for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) ?
What if the Knicks were able to sign Julius Erving out of the ABA?
What if Michael Ray Richardson’s career didn’t fall victim to the New York City nightlife and drug abuse.
What if Bernard King didn’t blowout his knee, and along with Patrick Ewing, they were able to form a dominant duo for many years ?
What if I actually watched basketball in the 80’s ?
What if Riley would have never traded Mark Jackson and brought Showtime to New York with him?
What if the Knicks had Xavier McDaniels in his prime?
What if the Knicks didn’t acquire and waste money on Charles Smith?
What if Charles Smith would have converted this layup?
What if Jordan was on a Western Conference team, how many titles would the Knicks have won?
What if the Knicks would have traded Starks for Latrell Sprewell in 1994?
What if Olajuwon didn’t get his fingernail on Starks’ game winning shot attempt in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals?
What if John Starks didn’t go 1-18 in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals?
What if Ewing would have dunked the ball instead of attempting a finger roll in Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals?
What if Jordan didn’t come out of retirement?
What if Jordan would have signed with the Knicks when he was a free agent in 1996?
What if the Knicks would have signed either Reggie Miller, or Mitch Richmond when they were free agents in 1996?
What if Larry Johnson was still in his prime in 1997?
What if Ewing didn’t break his wrist in 1998?
What if Sprewell didn’t choke Golden State Warriors Head Coach P.J. Carlisimo, and seal his fate of being shipped out of Golden State?
What if Ewing didn’t suffer from plantar faciitis in 1999?
What if the Jeff Van Gundy had started Kurt Thomas (6’9″) or Marcus Camby (6’11”) instead of Larry Johnson (6’7″) in the 1999 NBA Finals against Tim Duncan (7’0″) and David Robinson (7’1″) ?
What if Ewing wouldn’t have asked for a trade?
What if the Knicks would have gotten a star big man in return for Ewing instead of Glen Rice ?
What if they didn’t break into Marcus Camby’s house during the First Round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs and hold his sister hostage?
What if Jeff Van Gundy would have never quit during the middle of the 2001 season?
What if the Knicks didn’t trade Marcus Camby, what if it was for another player besides Antonio McDyess?
What if Antonio McDyess didn’t blow his knee out in a preseason game?
What if the Knicks never hired Scott Layden (if y’all think Isiah Thomas made a mess….)
What if the Knicks didn’t give Allan Houston an $100mil contract?
What if the Knicks would have traded Houston instead of Sprewell?
What if Isiah Thomas would’ve never been the Knicks GM?
What if Houston was healthy enough to help Marbury?
What if Eddy Curry cared about his NBA career?
What if Larry Brown had wanted to make it work with the Knicks?
What if Thomas would have been fired sooner?
What if Donnie Walsh would have let Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph finish the season together?
What if Mike D’antoni would have given Marbury a second chance?
What if we would have signed Lebron James?
What if Billups and Stoudemire didn’t get hurt in the First Round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs?
What if the Knicks would have signed a healthy Baron Davis?
What if Amare Stoudemire played defense and boxed out?
What if Carmelo Anthony didn’t have to play point-forward?
What if Dumbtoni would have let LINsanity (Jeremy Lin) start 5-10 games earlier?
What if the New York media wasn’t so worried about starting controversies to sell papers, but congratulatory and optimistic?
WHAT IF I TOLD YOU MOTHERF***ERS I”MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!