For most, the announcement that John Andariese will not be returning to the New York Knick radio booth will go unnoticed, an off-season non-roster move meant to disappear into the agate type of today's newspaper. Eventually, though, all who care about the history of the Knicks, and remember fondly better times - you need a more than competent memory for this - his absence will be deeply felt and he will be profoundly missed.
There can be no vitriol concerning the decision. Who knows? It may even have emanated from Andariese himself. If you listened to radio broadcasts last year, you discerned he was a step slow, and sometimes searched without success for the right word, the right reaction to describe play or players. In truth, for those who have Andariese's voice tucked comfortably in the back of their minds from broadcasts with the immortal Marv Alpert, it was just north of painful. And the reason it was painful? You knew Madison Square Garden wouldn't entertain the idea of an aging Andariese playing out his final act in full view of Knick fans. Perhaps fans would have endorsed it, for memory's sake, for old time's sake. But James Dolan, you know, wants no part of a better Knick era as he tries vainly, inadequately, and pathetically to assert one himself.
So now they're both gone, Marv and John. They enjoyed a great history on both radio and television for many years. Knick fans were reassured by their voices, like listening to old friends tell stories in your living room. It doesn't rise to the level of affection for a team's long-time baseball announcers, because you have more time to become familiar with them during the leisurely pace of the game, but they were household presences nonetheless.
Almost humorously, the removal of John Andariese in favor of Brendan Brown as analyst represents the only youth movement on a team that's aging by leaps and bounds seemingly every day. But it's hard to laugh right now, because it's a sad day by the radio for Knick fans.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
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