It’s been two seasons since I’ve seen the New York Knicks up close and personal. I missed their trip through Portland last season due to the flu, but having covered the Knicks for three seasons prior I was used to being sick.
The Knicks now are nothing like the Knicks then.
Slowly but surely the organization is starting to turn things around. Okay, it’s not the glory days of Frazier, Ewing or Houston. The wins aren’t there. But it sure beats the charade New York endured during the Isiah Thomas era – or error as those in the know prefer to call it.
Here’s some quick hits on the Knicks then – as I saw them for three seasons, versus the Knicks now:
Then: The Garden Gestapo tried to muzzle Larry Brown from speaking openly to the press. When Thomas took over on the sidelines, he opted for a “just tell them what they need to know” approach with the media. And even that was hard for him to do
Now: Head coach Mike D’Antoni can speak his mind and freely interact with the media….as it should be.
Then: David Lee could barely get a start.
Now: Lee is the man.
Then: Beat writers typically had their conversations with players transcribed by media relations staff members into handheld devices, where they were then sent on to upper management.
Now: All beat writers have to worry about looking over their shoulder at are the constant layoffs in the newspaper biz.
Then: Larry Brown heralded Eddy Curry as the Knicks next big man. To Thomas, Curry was an All-Star in the making.
Now: Basketball is the furthest thing from Curry’s mind.
Then: The Knicks brawled against the Denver Nuggets.
Now: They are fighting for the eight spot back East….21 wins and all.
Then: Channing Frye was part of the Knicks foundation.
Now: He can’t get off the Blazers bench.
Then: Stephon Marbury was a locker room cancer.
Now: The Knicks are close to being cured with Marbury out of the picture.
Then: Marbury said he was the best point guard in the league.
Now: He’s teamless.
Then: Nate Robinson was an out of control point guard.
Now: Robinson makes the Knicks go.
Then: Thomas hoped veterans like Steve Francis, Jalen Rose and Kelvin Cato would help lead the Knicks.
Now: D’Antoni has all the faith in the world with a youngster like Wilson Chandler.
Then: Jerome James was known as “Big Snacks”.
Now: Well, some things just don’t change.
pic via: nymag