(stolen from @theFBNYCsnitch)
(stolen from @theFBNYCsnitch)
Guaranteed more ill than anything you put in it. Unless it’s sneakers, which would fit. The Air Jordan 1 stocking:
Life is never fair when you’re a sports fan. It is a cruel, cruel world out there. It’s not like a video game, where you can play out your fantasies; it’s not like dating, where if it isn’t working out you can dump the person and move on; and it sure as hell isn’t like playing a sport yourself, where you have the ability to personally influence what’s happening on the field. No. It is a world without free will, where for those who cross the border from casual observance to fandom, there is no going back.
I am a New York Knicks fan. Man do they suck right now. We’re getting to December, about a sixth into the season, and the Knicks are a lowly 3-10, with only ONE win at home in Madison Square Garden. Yeah, the season is kind of young, and yeah, once Tyson Chandler comes back and things start to come together a bit, the wins will come, but jeez, this is as bad as things have been for a while.
The thing is, I knew this was coming. I said this was coming. I have been very consistent about voicing my displeasure with the Knicks over the past several years, but now that things are going pretty badly, things are coming to a head. One of the friends who I often debate with about the state of the Knickerbockers finally had enough of my recent expressions of disgust the other day and posted to me: “Greg, you know how they say that you should never toot your own horn and play the sarcastic “I told you so” game? Perhaps you were never taught that?”.
I told you so. I told everyone so.
When the Carmelo trade happened, I was furious. I hated that deal, I always have, and I always will. In my eyes the Knicks gave up way too many assets to go all-in for a franchise player who I thought would ultimately take the Knicks nowhere. I was upset, but as a fan, what choice did I have? In that situation, you can do nothing but endure and hope for the best.
In 2012, Linsanity happened, and we were all ecstatic, perhaps nobody more so than I; but then the summer after came and ruined everything once again. I was livid, and very vocal about the Knicks failure to match Jeremy’s offer sheet from the Rockets. Another blow, more disappointment.
These were the two biggest things out of a world of other grievances, but yeah, you get the point. all this hardship - it begs the question, why am I even a Knicks fan? Why not just give it up?
We take the most random paths to fandom sometimes. I personally didn’t even grow up a Knicks fan; I grew up worshipping Michael Jordan and the Bulls since my grandparents lived around Chicago. It wasn’t until I found myself lost in a post-Jordan NBA that I decided to pick up the Knicks after reading about the Antonio McDyess trade in the New York Times. The Ewing era in New York was over, and as avid player of the game of basketball, I needed to root for some team, so the hometown team made sense. That was 2002, when I was twelve or thirteen. After years and years of following the Knicks - through Isaiah Thomas, Stephon Marbury, the gutting of the team before 2010’s free agency, a decade of mediocrity - there’s pretty much no going back now.
Really, whether from birth or adolescence, at some point in our lives we’re baptized and confirmed, and there’s no going back. In a world where it’s no longer acceptable to head on over to another city with an army and conquer them, we wage our wars on the hardwood, and the prize is sheer pride - as if New York and Boston were our modern day Athens and Sparta, with the Knicks, Celtics, Red Sox, and Yankees as our gladiators.
I have had friends brought to tears stemming from both the success and the failures of their teams. I’ve read pages, and pages, and pages of friends debating about what they think their teams should be doing, or how their players were performing, or how coaches have been screwing up. I’ve seen (and experienced) statements of dissent being interpreted as an act of betrayal. At some point, your team just becomes your blood, there’s no removing the color from your veins. You revel in their success, and you suffer in their pain. It becomes part of your identity.
“I will be a Knicks fan for life,” I’ve often read my friends litter throughout their Facebook commentary. I think it’s sad. A purgatorial existence of forever relevance but illusionary success is the life of a Knicks fan, at least in the James Dolan era. Madison Square Garden shines as bright as ever, but the lights are always off in June when it truly matters. Anyone who tells you otherwise is sipping the Kool-Aid.
But this is where we’re collectively stuck. Others might have been dealt better cards in life — the blessing of supporting a forever prosperous Spurs dynasty, the emerging blossom of a Warriors, or Rockets, the fading glory of the Lakers — but the limbo of the Knickerbockers has been decided as my fate. I don’t have to like them, or even think they’re any good, but there’s no going back, I am a Knicks fan.
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It’s time to let Linsanity go.
Then Chron.com’s Jonathan Feigen posted this yesterday at Ultimate Rockets to remind us that Rockets coach Kevin McHale, at least, has been trying to let Linsanity die since last year.
It lingers, however, for the Jeremy Lin fan. The Lin-only fans or “LOFs” as they’re called by ClutchFans.net can’t help it.
Earlier today, Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal posted this piece on Linsanity in WSJ’s Speakeasy section quoting an email exchange we had recapping last night’s game. Basically, I was trying to convince him that Linsanity is long over and needs to be laid to rest.
Yang is an unabashed LOF, as are many of my friends, but that isn’t a problem in itself. There are plenty of fans that would follow Kobe Bryant or Lebron James wherever they went. But, Yang suggests that he and other LOFs can’t help but want more of that incredible run of Linsanity.
I get that, but that’s the difference between many LOFs and fans of the game of basketball. For a lot of LOFs, basketball began at Jeremy Lin. Linsanity is the precedent for which they will measure every Lin performance. That just isn’t fair for the kid.
NOBODY has ever had a run like that. And probably, nobody ever will.
Knowledgeable basketball fans generally know this, but I’m not gonna get too deep into that. I’m not making a case of one fan being more true than another. I’m just saying that expanding one’s scope of reference for the game, knowing more about it’s nuances and history, helps all fans appreciate Lin’s accomplishments that much more.
So for my LOFs out there, forget about whether Lin deserves to start, forget about whether he’s outplaying Patrick Beverley (or Raymond Felton), forget about whether the media is giving him enough love.
Jeremy Lin is off to a phenomenal start to the season. He is healthy, he has improved his shooting stroke, he is straight up doing work right now: 18.4 ppg, 4.7 apg on .527 FG%, .465 3FG%, and .807 FT%.
And, he’s making it all look very natural. It’s early, sure, but like Detrick suggests, it certainly looks sustainable. And if it is, Lin is a damn good player. Trying to bring Linsanity back only diminishes his efforts.
Lin is actually a better player right now than he ever was during the Linsanity run. Forget Linsanity. Let it die. What he is doing right now is far more substantial for his team, for him as a player, and for the future Asian American athletes. And, if it seems unremarkable, that’s just an indication of how far he’s come. — R.H.