New York Knicks fans aren’t just working their way through another miserable season. The team has been working its way through a miserable near-decade-and-a-half, dating back to (take your choice) when the team decided to deal Patrick Ewing for several players in a desperate attempt to stay relevant during the late summer of 2000, when it decided to force Dave Checketts out of power in the early summer of 2001, or when an exasperated Jeff Van Gundy quit on his team in late autumn of 2001.
Whatever the starting point, the franchise has been miserable in the years since, in spite of owner James Dolan throwing hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars at players, coaches (seven, not counting the series of times Herb Williams has been trotted out to lead the squad on an interim basis), and general managers (six, counting Checketts but not counting Isiah Thomas’ various post-dismissal texts to Dolan encouraging more genius moves) along the way.
In response, with the Knicks on pace to win just 32 games without even a 2014 first-round draft pick in reserve as reward, Knick fans have decided to congregate on Madison Square Garden on March 19 to protest Dolan’s stewardship of this ship that be sinkin’. Dan Devine has already discussed the hopes and goals of Knick Fans 4 Life, earlier in March:
We understand Dolan will not sell. We understand change may not come of this. We just want our voices heard. We want to remind Dolan and the NBA that our voices matter. We buy the tickets, the jerseys, the NBA League Pass subscriptions. We are frustrated. We are tired. We deserve better.
They do. The Knicks could have won three straight championships from 1999-2001, and their fans would still not deserve this sort of prolonged treatment.
The protest is set to take place at 6 p.m. ET outside Madison Square Garden, prior to a game against the East-leading Indiana Pacers – a squad that has yet to pay the luxury tax, but remains a title contender through a combination of shrewd moves, sound cap and asset management, proper scouting, in-house development, and partially due to the work of former Knicks GM Donnie Walsh.
Noting this, the Knicks brain trust decided to put their noggins together in order to save season ticket holders the sight of having to watch the protesters rightfully rant and rave as the ticket-holders schlepped into MSG.
The protest is at 6 p.m., the Knicks realized.
We own the arena, and the protesters have to stay outside of the arena, the suits added.
We’ll throw a party and save the frat house save our phony-baloney jobs circumvent the protesters!
Barry Petchesky unearthed an email sent to season ticket holders on Tuesday morning, inviting one and all to a Knick swag-o-thon at MSG in the hours prior to the protesters’ (who presumably have jobs that preclude them from knocking off early to yell at millionaires) much-hyped work. From the email, originally published by Deadspin:
With the Knicks back from their west coast tour, we wanted to celebrate in a big way, with you! If you plan to attend the Knicks game on Wednesday, March 19th, we'd love for you to attend the Knicks Happy Hour, courtesy of Chase. At this event, you'll meet some Alumni, receive vouchers for merchandise and concessions and be able to watch shoot-around from a great spot. The event starts at 6PM, which is an hour before doors open to the general public [and two hours before game time], so you'll be a VIP!
If you and your guests would like to attend, please let me know and print the invite for admission. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you are able to join us.
Of course, the Knicks kind of biffed this by scheduling the event for the same time the protesters are about to shore up, but this is also the same ownership group that spent the full midlevel exception on Jerome James one summer before trading away what was basically the chance to eventually draft LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah to sign Eddy Curry just two months after inking Big Jerome.
This also allows us to quote the sublime work of Seth Rosenthal, who wrote about his favorite team at Posting and Toasting on Tuesday:
If I may: The Knicks are in a desert. The Knicks have a bottle of water. They dump the water in the sand because [forget] the water. They become thirsty. Luckily, there is an oasis with more water. But [forget] the water. The Knicks insist on having champagne airlifted in from thousands of miles away even though champagne is extremely expensive and might not last the trip intact and might make them drunk and disoriented and doesn't necessarily even quench thirst. This is how this feels to me. Any other team drinks water when it's thirsty. The Knicks won't do that. They refuse to behave like a normal team.
Yeah, but … “vouchers for merchandise and concessions” and the ability to watch J.R. Smith work last night’s fun off with a few left-handed 3-pointers two hours before the game!
The Knicks have won four straight, all against lottery teams. They take on two far worse teams in Milwaukee and Boston in the days leading up to the Pacers contest, a game against a team that has struggled over the past three weeks. There is a very good chance that the Knicks could enter the night of the protest with a six-game winning streak and Phil Jackson in hand, and if the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks continue to trade wins and losses, the team could even still be boasting an outside shot at making the playoffs.
They’re still the Knicks, though – eighth seed, Phil Jackson, six-game winning streak over crappy teams, or not. And Knick fans – from the lower-bowl types who get a free voucher for a $12 beer to the followers who can afford a cheap seat only once every few years – deserve so, so much better.
- - - - - - -