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That the Knicks will celebrate the franchise’s 40th anniversary of New York’s 1970 NBA championship is no surprise, that Knick team was legendary, and the Knicks don’t have many title-winners.
They won again, in 1973, and that’s been about it for the NBA’s hometown franchise. The globe’s spun enough to deliver championship revolutions to two different sun spots in Detroit and Golden State, decades apart, but the Knicks can’t even get a taste inside the century they live in.
So, celebrate the past, before the past shuffles off. The Knicks will commemorate the occasion on March 21 — Walt Frazier and Willis Reed and Bill Bradley will attend, so will Bill Hosket and John Warren and Don May.
MSG never mentioned bringing along Phil Jackson, an obvious reunion choice in spite of the games he missed in 1969-70 (all of them).
The New York Post already noted that Marv Albert — the voice of he Knicks between 1177 B.C. and 2004 AD (After Dolan) — will not attend.
Mike Breen, last seen explaining the “crucial delegate process” to a teenager, will likely run as master of ceremonies.
The whole thing is dick, stupid dick, the Garden can’t act its age for a single evening in advance of chasing off what it thinks is best for its New York Knick consumer.
Basketball’s richest franchise shouldn’t have to answer any more questions as to why it only fielded two championships in 74 seasons, or only seven playoff game wins in 19 seasons under Dolan, yet we’re bringing it up again because the Knicks can’t get a party right.
The Nets luxuriously enjoyed 54 playoff wins since James Dolan took over the Knicks in 2001, under like 14 owners and while playing in six different medium-to-large cities inside the tri-state area.
The Knicks are legendary in spite of this, all this mess.
A few minutes of strong Knick basketball at MSG clears away all the muck, basketball fans can’t help but ache for the sport to convey its basest fears inside the arena that’s spooked so many horses, and Happy Hairston.
Knick fans aren’t the ones to sit in front of old clips all night, they don’t need to, the voices inside their heads are almost as old as color footage:
“It would’ve been nice to see the guys,” Albert said when contacted by The Post.
“I was not invited.”
Marv Albert was let go by MSG ahead of the 2004-05 season, he’d been with the team since 1967 with the exception of two seasons in the late 1990s — the Knicks were kind enough to re-hire Albert after he pled guilty to sexual assault and battery charges in 1997.
MSG floated Marv’s escalating salary as the reason for his 2004 departure, Albert countered that he couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Dolan on the content of his broadcasts: “[Albert] was told to be less critical of a somewhat improved Knicks team with a new coach, Lenny Wilkens.”
The MSG owner then did his usual inside a cloth diaper:
Responding to criticism from Albert that Dolan wanted him to be a homer, the Knick owner charged in a WFAN interview, “Marv didn’t like the team. I basically felt he didn’t like the Knicks.”
Marv Albert, not a Knick Guy.
Dolan said Albert made no attempt to get to know the players by visiting the locker room. Dolan said he didn’t mind Albert being critical of a lousy performance, but felt his overall view of last season’s Knicks was negative.
Let me just go ahead and speak up for the entire 2003-04 New York Knick roster and say “hey we don’t need that dude in the locker room.”
“I’ve asked him not to say they’re bad for the season, because why would anyone watch?” Dolan said, adding viewers want “a fan of the team.”
Yo Dolan you just said your team was gonna be “bad for the season” on the radio and everyone heard it.
The Marv-eh-less Knicks won 33 games in 2004-05, six fewer than in Albert’s final year. Wilkens was fired before midseason.
Also, same shit:
Also, Dolan said he’s not looking to sell the Knicks or Rangers.
“We’re not looking to get out of the business,” he said, adding that the Garden will go through a “big renovation.”
We can relay that Albert was a bit of a smartass at times covering Knick games, yet with nothing tangier than what you’d pick up from your typical modern TNT broadcast. His convivial tone sustained, it wasn’t Bootleg Marv, trust me.
Albert didn’t have to be: New York’s team wasn’t an embarrassment yet, only one taking an expected swoon after years as a playoff mainstay. James Dolan worked to change all this.
In doing so, he denied several more weeks of Marv Albert calling the cream of his team’s Keith Van Horn highlights:
(OK, maybe Albert sounds a little surprised every time Keith Van Horn made a decisive move, but none of us could help it at the time.)
The Van Horn tribute is the only instance we can find of Marv calling games in 2003-04.
Albert is certainly no hero in his lifetime, but at least he did make fun of Chris Dudley once:
Jackson’s absence is somehow easier to defend: Phil didn’t play in 1969-70, his third season, after back surgery.
His sidelined duties included de facto fringe scout and unofficial team photographer, Jackson was not an overwhelming part of the 1970 team, but for his presence as the team’s designated Walter Mitty:
Phil Jackson’s published accounts of these moments helped mold the way we look at these Knickerbocker champions, he’s acted on behalf of New York’s legacy in ways the culture couldn’t have dreamed back in 1970.
To deny him a spot in the celebration over a technicality is Knick business as usual. As would Jackson’s decision to decline, nobody does passive/aggressive like Phil Jackson.
The center/forward was a veteran during the championship year, voted a full playoff share. And had it been Nate Bowman who missed every game that championship season after back surgery, you could be damned sure the Knicks would track down Nate Bowman and his bad back and make this right.
Jackson, however, made the mistake of working for Dolan and MSG from 2014 through 2017, giving both Derrick Williams and Arron Afflalo two-year contracts. There probably woulda been more than a few boos upon Jackson’s introduction on March 21, but James Dolan couldn’t handle the chances of any cheers.
All they had to do, was do it the right way.
They’re tiny, these people.
With weird, fake teeth.
KENNY WALKER IN A FIST FIGHT
Each player was ejected, as Johnny Hoops 2000 explained.
The Pistons, waiting on the other side of 1989’s Eastern playoff bracket, were upset Pippen didn’t earn the same punishment Isiah Thomas earned (two games, $5000, broke his damn hand) after his fight with Bull Bill Cartwright:
“Rod Thorn (league operations director) set a standard with Isiah Thomas which he obviously never intended to keep,” said Pistons owner William Davidson.
Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause said: “We didn`t expect Scottie to get suspended.”
Pippen was fined $3000, Walker $1500. “Pippen was fined the larger amount for initiating the fight,” explained Thorn.
NETS ARE IN NEW YORK NOW
And Jacque Vaughn is the Nets’ new interim head coach.
Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson on Saturday, kowtowing to the general unease that set in when Kyrie Irving determined he wouldn’t be able to coach the club while recovering from shoulder surgery.
(“Dream or not,” Irving told reporters, “my vision was real.”)
The NBA is basically where it stood during the NBA/ABA era, when coaches could thumb easily through scads of available professional jobs on top of all manner of enticing college work. Not all those guys wanted to coach Wilt.
Atkinson may work a TV gig in his off months, runs about right with the time coaches would take a year off from hoops to make more money at their father-in-law’s car dealership.
Coaches want to get the fuck out of here now. They can spot trouble kicking up a dust cloud on the horizon and cobble together an escape route quicker than Friday night turns to Saturday morning.
And when the guy that wants you out doesn’t know what he wants? It’s time to agree with him about wanting out.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant don’t dislike Atkinson as much as Kyrie and KD don’t really know what they like yet, they only know what they don’t like. It’s annoying, but we should give them their space. We might get some awesome basketball out of it.
It’s a drag that the same timing that handed Brooklyn its pair of All-Stars also gave the club its largest lot of head-scratchers and counting — distracted thumbs with bum shoulders and heels to match.
But they had to beat the Knicks.
There isn’t a different way to do this, when Kyrie and Durant give word that they’re interested, you jump.
Coaches are replaceable, same as nearly any player, and culture is an illusion that can be drummed up with a few lucky floaters. It’s OK that we’re doing all this, life is still certainly spot on for Sean Marks.
CARTWRIGHT GETS BARKLEY
“I just remember getting hit,” Barkley said after the game. “After that, I don't remember nothing.”
Dr. Norman Scott, the Knicks’ team physician, was called onto the court underneath the basket where Barkley lay unconscious. After Barkley was revived, he was helped to the 76er dressing room.
Dr. Scott examined him and said a concussion could not be ruled out. Barkley refused to go to the hospital, and after remaining in the dressing room for about 15 minutes, he returned to the bench and watched the remainder of the game.
Mark Jackson won the game in overtime.
Charles probably had a concussion.
YOU BROUGHT THE SUNSHINE
Some Yacht for the big Captain Upstairs.
A little Steely Reggae on this humble Sunday. We’re glad you’re here with us!
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Thank you for reading!
(More to come.)