By now we’ve all heard the recent interview Kevin Durant gave where he stated, “The Knicks aren’t cool right now.”
On a larger scale, Durant didn’t really say anything wrong but it’s hard to keep a straight face coming from a guy who considered the Knicks, only to follow another player to Brooklyn. Certainly feels like deflection since he could never admit to following someone or shying away from the spotlight of The Garden.
Not sure when being ‘cool’ was a criteria, either? But since it was said, let me quickly shut that down. In StubHub’s latest release of most demanded teams to watch, the Knicks were 4th in the league. Yes, a team that won 17 games last year is the 4th highest demanded team to watch. And you probably guessed it, ahead of the Nets who are 5th. Oh, and the Knicks are the most valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes. Not too shabby for a team that’s not cool, right?
Now, this isn’t meant as a slight to Brooklyn. They had a fantastic offseason and should be happy about the direction of the team after snagging two of the largest free agents on the market. But this does say a lot about the Knicks. The Knicks were in the running for all of these free agents and it just didn’t work out. The fact the Knicks were in that position is a testament to how much this franchise is changing. Ten years ago, agents were steering their clients away from the Knicks. All it takes is 1 player to want the challenge that playing in NYC presents, it’s not for everyone.
Every day, sports networks talk about the Knicks. You must be pretty cool to be mentioned by literally every single media outlet. What other teams can win 17 games and still be in the spotlight? There’s nowhere like New York City.
Knicks fans understand that we have the most losses over the last 20 years. Nobody has forgotten that and much of the criticism the franchise receives is fair. However, some of it is downright ridiculous and many writers and big media outlets just want rating clicks. Largely gone are the days of fair evaluation and critique. I can find many better sports analysis on twitter than I can browse through ESPN.
Much of the criticism is aimed at Knicks owner James Dolan. While that isn’t unreasonable, people want to blame him for literally everything. The Knicks have a very solid front office, employing the only all African American front office and head coach in the NBA. They have drafted well for the last few years and have a capable young core that fans are excited about moving forward. If Dolan gets blamed for missed opportunities, he should get credit for the positives as well.
Just a couple of days ago, we saw the owner of the Nets, Joe Tsai, put out a statement essentially kneeling to China over GM Darryl Morey’s tweet supporting the Hong Kong protests. He apologized to a regime that is committing humans rights violations left and right and is a brutal government because he wants to protect the dollars of the NBA.
Could you imagine if Dolan put out that statement and apologized to a communist country? Man, I could only imagine the front pages of all these newspapers. That’s neither here nor there, but overall, the evaluation of the Knicks tends to be overdramatic and biased.
NBA Is Fake Woke
The NBA has been commended for its actions in standing up for gender equality, transgender rights, and being an all-inclusive league. But this past week was really a poor one for the league, with it’s kneeling to China. After Darryl Morey’s tweet sent China into a frenzy, the NBA found itself backpedaling, with Nets owner Joe Tsai giving us a history lesson on why China might be offended. In all honesty, it was pretty ridiculous and weak given the brutal nature of the Chinese government and the continuous human rights violations they continue to commit. The NBA was scared about its money and lost much of the goodwill it had built up by standing up for rights of all diverse backgrounds here in America.
Even outspoken head coaches like Steve Kerr have been quiet on the issue. For someone that speaks as eloquently and thorough as him, it was disappointing to have him bail on the issue.
This is an issue that will be at the forefront of entering the season. Hopefully, the NBA finds its integrity and realizes sometimes there are more important things than dollars.