Anybody who knows me is aware of how much space in my heart is taken up by basketball, and that space will forever be home to his legacy and my memories of it. This has certainly been reflected in my actions relating to him: endless debates about him and other all-timers with friends fueled by his greatness; asking for his gold jersey for Christmas eight years ago; practicing his signature post-fadeaway jump shot every time I had a ball in my hands; loudly exclaiming his name every time I’ve sent something soaring at a trash can.
I may be only 17 years old, but the impact he has had on my life is more than apparent. It is just over 24 hours after the news of his death, but the event doesn’t feel real in my head: it can’t possibly be real. It’s a tragedy by definition, and one that affects millions of people. My words here can only hope to capture my true thoughts on his legacy.
I have a confession: When I was a kid, I started out as a Lakers fan. My parents aren’t exactly sports fans so I was left to forge my own path. And while I eventually let geography dictate my fandom, the Lakers provided the foundation for a love of a sport that would only intensify over time.
Everyone has a favorite Kobe memory. Mine? The second game I ever saw in-person was Kobe and Shaq at the Garden.1 My first game was Jordan with the Wizards. How spoiled was I? The one memory I’ve retained from that game, other than the 104-83 drubbing, is Kobe hitting a mid-range jumper and jogging up the court. It was so easy and… effortless. And sure, many other more iconic memories come to mind, but that memory was iconic to me.
January 26, 2007: Jamal Crawford scores a career high 52 points against the Miami Heat
In one of a few bright spots of the 2006-07 season, Jamal Crawford exploded for a career high 52 points in a 20-point blowout against the Miami Heat in Madison Square Garden. Crawford was unstoppable from the field, hitting 20-30 from the field and 8-10 from three.
January 24th 2014: Carmelo Anthony breaks Bernard King’s scoring record with 62 points
Carmelo Anthony cemented his way into Knicks folklore as he broke Bernard King’s scoring record with 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) in MSG. Melo simply destroyed the Bobcats in every way possible, from threes, mid-range shots, free throws, post-ups, signature jab-steps, and dunks.
Shortly after sunset yesterday, Bloomberg broke the news that the New York Knicks partnered with Steve Stoute’s advertising agency Translation LLC to help the team bolster the brand and strengthen ties to the fanbase. The tweet branded2yes, pun intended the article as a makeover.
Immediately after the tweet, many Knicks fans lashed out with disapproval. Sentiments such as “fix the team,” “fire the front office,” and “win more games” were the overarching themes. Immediately, the perception arose that the Knicks believe lack of attendance is due to “image” and not assembling a better roster.
January 23, 1972: The New York Knicks withstand a late-game comeback against the Seattle Supersonics.
The Knicks nearly averted trouble to hold onto a 101-99 victory on the road against the Seattle Supersonics. The Knicks led by as much as 20 points by halftime and even had a 15 point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game. The Sonics went on a 9-0 run and cut the lead down to 6 with less than 40 seconds in regulation.
January 21, 1999: The New York Knicks acquire Latrell Sprewell
On the first day after the end of the 1998-99 NBA Lockout, the New York Knicks acquired the talented, but highly controversial Latrell Sprewell from the Golden State Warriors. In return, fan favorite John Starks, Chris Mills, & Terry Cummings departed for the Warriors. Sprewell spent most of the 1997-98 season suspended as a result of choking his coach PJ Carlesimo in practice. The Warriors shopped Sprewell to teams since the suspension. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs were the other potential suitors in trade rumors, but the Knicks ultimately provided the best offer.
January 20th 1970: Willis Reed wins the 1970 NBA All Star Game MVP
Willis Reed scored 21 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots on his way to win the 1970 NBA All Star Game MVP award. The Eastern Conference All Stars defeated the Western Conference All Stars by a score of 142-135. The NBA played the All Star Game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The arena housed the Philadelphia 76ers until 1996.
The game was nationally televised on ABC. Not surprisingly, several minutes of the 2nd half were cut from the broadcast, including a moment where Reed scored 2 free throws and grabbed 2 rebounds.
The MVP award was the first of the Triple Crown that Reed achieved that season. The Triple Crown included the Regular Season MVP and the NBA Finals MVP, a historic feat only by Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal in a single season.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier & Dave DeBusschere joined Reed as Eastern Conference All Star teammates. Red Holzman coached the squad. Coincidentally, former Knick Richie Guerin coached the Western Conference squad representing the Atlanta Hawks. Fellow teammates on the East included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, & Jimmy Walker (the father of Jalen Rose).
January 19th 1987: The New York Knicks host their first MLK day game
President Ronald Reagan passed historic legislation in 1983 to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr Day as a national holiday. The law stated to observe MLK Day on the third Monday in January, which would then land approximately around MLK’s actual birthday of January 15th. The United States observed MLK Day for the first time in 1986.
January 18th 2016: The New York Knicks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in a double overtime Martin Luther King Day thriller
The New York Knicks perhaps didn’t expect a MLK Day matinee against the five win Philadelphia 76ers to extend into double overtime. The Knicks held a 18 point lead in the 3rd quarter. However, the Philadelphia 76ers clawed back into the game, led by Ish Smith, Robert Covington & Nerlens Noel to tie the game and took a 96-93 lead with 3.4 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
January 17, 2013: The New York Knicks defeat the Detroit Pistons in London
Beginning in the 2010-11 season, the NBA expanded their horizons by playing regular season games overseas. While this was not their first experiment in doing so – the NBA held a couple games in Japan during the 1990s – it became more of a tradition beginning this season. The games would be brand as either the “NBA China Games,” “NBA Japan Games,” or “NBA London Games.”
January 16, 1960: The New York Knicks blowout the Cincinnati Royals
The Knicks blew out the Cincinnati Royals 132-106. The Knicks had 8 players in double figures as Willie Naulls led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jack George scored 20 points, Richie Guerin scored 16, and Jim Palmer scored 15 as well to lead the Knicks quarter.
January 15, 1990: The game that birthed the Trent Tucker Rule
On this memorable MLK day in 1990, Trent Tucker enshrined himself into Knicks folklore with a buzzer-beating shot to defeat the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. With the game tied at 106, Tucker received the inbounds pass and made the game-winning three pointer with 0.1 seconds left to win the game 109-106.
The Don Chaney era came to an end on this date as Isiah Thomas fired him shortly before their impending game against the Orlando Magic. After going through a morning shootaround, Chaney and assistant coaches Brendan Malone & Lon Kruger received notice that they were relieved of their duties.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
– Alexander Hamilton & Malcolm X, among others
Tomorrow marks exactly 30 months since Steve Mills hired Scott Perry as general manager of the New York Knicks, forming the front office tandem that was supposed to guide this team out of the darkness and finally, as we have heard so many times since that day, “build this the right way.”
Here’s the thing about the concept of “right” though: there’s no standard definition for it, especially when it comes to building a basketball team. You just kind of know it when you see it.
January 13, 1995: Hubert Davis led the New York Knicks to a ferocious comeback against the Milwaukee Bucks
Down 17 points in the third quarter, Hubert Davis helped fuel a major comeback to lead the Knicks to a 91-88 victory on the road. Davis scored 21 points, but went on a three point barrage between the 3rd and 4th quarters to reverse the deficit. In less than a 5 minute stretch, Davis hit all 5 of his three-point shots and single-handedly started a 14-0 run. The run turned a 76-64 deficit into a 78-76 lead.
January 12, 1974: Red Holzman sets club record in head coaching victories
The New York Knicks defeated the Golden State Warriors 96-80. In the victory, Red Holzman set a club record with 327 regular season victories. He surpassed the record held by Joe Lapchick. Lapchick coached the Knicks for eight seasons between 1948-1956.
The boys in orange and blue returned to The Garden last night after long and tough west coast road trip. Our beloved rookie, RJ Barrett debuted the PUMA Clyde Hardwood “Natural” colorway, the newest edition to the Puma Clyde Hardwood collection. Named after the one and only, Walt “Clyde” Frazier who has been a part of the PUMA brand since his NBA playing days. The PUMA Clyde Hardwood “Natural” doesn’t drop until January 15th, but you can shop for the rest Clyde Hardwood line right now on PUMA. They retail for $120.
January 11, 2000: Metta World Peace (f/k/a Ron Artest) returns to MSG as a rookie
In the 1999 NBA Draft, Ed Tapscott inexplicably drafted Frederic Weis over St. John’s own Metta World Peace. 99% of Knicks fans and media, alike, panned the selection. Even MWP himself was baffled the Knicks didn’t select the Queens native. The Chicago Bulls selected him right after the Knicks picked Weis.
January 10, 1995: John Starks ties a then-team record with 8 three-pointers to beat the Indiana Pacers
In the first game since the contentious 1994 Eastern Conference Finals matchup, John Starks tied a then-team record with 8 three-pointers made to stun Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers by a score of 117-105. Starks led the Knicks with 31 points and hit 8-11 from downtown and 10-16 overall from the field.
Our boys in orange in blue are on the way back home after a four game west coast road trip. During the trip, the Knicks battled in a hard fought game where we saw Marcus Morris dropped a career high 38 points against the Los Angeles Clippers. Mook caught fire while wearing the Nike Kyrie 5 “Keep Sue Fresh’ which pays tribute to Kyrie’s favorite WNBA player, and Nike athlete Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. The upper of the shoe features words in graffiti style detailing the 3x WNBA champion’s accomplishments. The nickname of the shoe references a conversation between the two in which Kyrie promised to always make sure Sue had fresh pairs of his shoes from his signature Nike line. The Nike Kyrie 5 “Keep Sue Fresh” was released on November 2, 2019 and they retail for $140. You can buy them on StockX.