Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace are two pretty bad dudes. Despite the perpetual smirk the two tend to walk around with, the New York Knick veterans dole out hard fouls and tough love on the court, while barely concealing their hard guy status on the defensive end.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have lost nine straight. This is part of the reason why it seemed quite believable that both World Peace and Martin would engage in some combination of a shouting match, fight, or heated back and forth at practice, as ESPN reported last weekend. Combining the typical reaction to a losing streak, an embattled coach in Mike Woodson who has been on the hot seat for weeks, and both Metta and Kenyon’s irascible (to say the least) past, and you have a tussle straight out of central casting.
Save for the part where both Martin and Metta deny it. In their own inimitable ways, of course. From Frank Isola at the New York Daily News:
“It’s all bull,” Martin said.
Said Metta: “We were eating pasta. He had elbow pasta, I had shell pasta, and I told him how my shell pasta is better than his elbow pasta. And he was pretty upset about that. He loves elbow pasta, but I disagree, I think shell pasta is better. I don't care. I will stand by that. Shell pasta.”
Now you can understand that Woodson does not have an easy job.
No, Frank, I can’t understand that – at least not in full.
None of us can come close to understanding the pressure that Mike Woodson is under, or the frustrations behind his job. The New York Knicks’ payroll, luxury taxes included, has never been higher. The alternate bouts of wackiness and awfulness of owner James Dolan have never been firing so quickly, and as often as they have recently. There’s more media than ever, a new presence in Brooklyn that is perched to draw fans away (even if the Nets are similarly awful this season), and a nine-game losing streak only ratchets this pressure up.
Pat Riley, 20 years later, couldn’t understand this. Mike D’Antoni couldn’t understand this, Isiah Thomas never understood it, and as usual we can’t really understand what the hell Metta World Peace is talking about.
The Knicks play those Nets in Brooklyn on Thursday night, in a nationally televised game that will give TNT’s Charles Barkley a massive audience to trash both franchises. The Nets have already made a huge coaching move in “re-assigning” Lawrence Frank, and James Dolan is the sort of owner that would presume it to be the coach’s fault that none of his players can shoot, and that it’s the coach’s fault that the team can’t defend with Tyson Chandler on the sidelines.
Get your pasta ready.
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