Like the New York Knicks, Manhattan's Beacon Theatre in upper Broadway is a fabled and well-respected institution worth the sort of blessed treatment usually afforded to the Yankees, question about Ed Koch's personal relationships, or Woody when he's trying to film on your block. Sadly, James Dolan owns both the Knicks and the Beacon, though no great effort of his own, and per his wishes both were involved in an embarrassing and tawdry recent spectacle known as "The New York Knicks Tip-Off Event."
CBS New York columnist John Schmeelk doesn't just write about the Knicks for the website, he's also a season ticket holder. And even though the team, once again, retains one of the league's highest payrolls and has a solid shot at 50 wins and a goodly playoff run, the franchise decided to introduce its 2012-13 team to ardent fans and fellow season ticket holders in a typically, sadly, Rabelaisian Cablevision way.
[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of NBA.com]
"Once everyone was in their seats, [Host Tina] Cervasio reappeared and introduced the person that would help her question the Knicks on stage. I quote: "Once a Knick, always a Knick: Baron Davis!" I laughed so hard that people sitting around me looked at me the way Paul Ryan looked at Joe Biden during the Vice Presidential Debate.
"Finally, an hour into the "show", the Q & A began and I finally thought something worthwhile might happen. There was never any interactive fan forum. There's no doubt that the Knicks didn't want to risk a question being asked about Jeremy Lin, he who will not be named. They not only shield their players from the media, but also from the fans.
"Even being questioned by Cervasio and Baron Davis, it's possible that the Knicks players would saying something interesting. Unfortunately, more or less all of their wireless mics weren't working. The fans could barely hear a thing."
This is the tip of Schmeelk's particular, despondent, iceberg — stuck within a must-read column full of anecdotes not limited to the fact that the actual basketball portion of the proceedings didn't start until nearly an hour and a half of Knicks-brand entertainment (dancers, DJs, and all the other well-meaning nonsense that annoys people between timeouts of actual basketball games) had been executed to no great acclaim.
Rasheed Wallace's self-congratulatory note, though, was a big hit amongst his Knick teammates:
"Cervasio asked the older players how they are able to play at their age. Rasheed Wallace answered it was because 'they took care of their bodies.' Nearly all the players on stage started laughing out loud since Wallace is so out of shape that he can't even scrimmage. He was also just a tad overweight in his final year with the Celtics. Truly unintentional comedy."
Schmeelk goes on and on, and it really should be read by anyone either attempting to dive into a late afternoon tub full of schadenfreude, or genuine NBA fans that truly want the Dolans and Cablevision to give New York the team that city deserves. Transparent, in all the hoped-for ways, tough and talented; not unlike the city.
Sadly, none of this will change until James Dolan and Cablevision sell the team, forcing the hopeless owner to merely beg for revisionist "Knick for life" plaudits following that transaction. Considering those sold out seats, and towering ratings, don't expect the most necessary of New York maneuvers to happen anytime soon.