It might have escaped most New York Knick fans, and given the time of year, nobody can blame them, but all should know the team is about to win its first championship in nearly a lifetime.
Perhaps some background should be applied before people start making preliminary plans on date and time for the parade down Broadway, and their positions along the route. J.R. Smith is the intelligence behind this information, and yes, that giant pin is targeted for the balloon of optimism just inflated.
The New York Jets' coach Rex Ryan secures bold headline type when he renders such proclamations. Thankfully for Knick fans, Smith's self-assurance and bravado fell on deaf ears in a town of all ears. In theory, you can't blame Smith or anyone else for blurring the line between extending rapaciously and with great effort for the brass ring, and guaranteeing outcomes that seem well out of reach. The latter generally brings uncomfortable seat-shifting among teammates and team officials, guffaws from players on better teams, and painful groans from fans who know better. But what should Smith say when asked what he portends for the season ahead? He's just goofy and free-spirited enough to be lionized for his enthusiasm.
After some off-season thought, Smith's inclination toward unparalleled achievement only conjures the road ahead for any team with aspirations of trophy-lugging. The world was treated to an overview of life in the NBA over the next several years during last year's playoffs and the recently completed Olympics. The bad news for everyone seeking a title is Lebron James and his officially harnessed unfathomable talent. In stark contrast to pre-2012, he seems quite comfortable displaying it now in the most significant basketball moments. Has there ever been a time post-Michael Jordan when it seemed so implausible for a team other than the James Gang in Miami to win a championship?
In silence, many of the league's players must shiver and shudder at the sheer hopelessness of their plight - an unmanageable road fraught with ultimate defeat. Perhaps Smith doesn't bear that weight, choosing to dismiss that which troubles him. Maybe we don't give him enough credit.
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.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
- · Yahoo! Sports Lebron James page
- · Yahoo! Sports J.R. Smith page
- · Yahoo! Sports Miami Heat page
- · Marc Raimondi, New York Post, WATCH: Knicks' JR guarantees championship and 'nothing less'