This is my second basketball-related Rant of the week, but right now, things are going really well for my team, the New York Knicks, so I figured now is the time to gloat a bit.
I have been with this team since 1965. I went to games in the old Madison Square Garden, the new Madison Square Garden, and they are as much in my blood as the Yankees are.
I was around for their two championships, in the 1969-1970 and 1972-1973 seasons. I lived and died with those teams, I really did, and they did not disappoint me.
This year’s team, the 2012-2013 version, isn’t as good as those two championship teams, but right now, they are riding an impressive winning streak--now at 13, with their win against the Washington Wizards last night--that has the entire New York Metropolitan Area thinking that after a 40-year drought, this might be the year that the Knicks bring home the championship trophy.
I remember those other championship years like they were yesterday, and let me tell you, being a city kid for the first championship and new to Long Island with the second championship, I have never seen an area galvanize behind a team like this.
Sure, the Yankees have been incredibly successful, but you had Mets fans who wouldn’t root for the Yankees under any circumstance.
Sure, you have the football Giants, but will a Jets fan ever root for the Giants. Pretty doubtful.
And you have the Rangers, but will Islanders fans or Devils fans ever root for them? No way.
But the Knicks are a different story.
Yes, the Nets are now in Brooklyn, but the Nets have never really been a rival to the Knicks in any way, shape or form, no matter where they have called home.
And now, the Nets’ fan base is developing. It might take years to ever reach even the vicinity of Knicks’ fandom.
Right now, the Nets are to the Knicks as the Clippers are to the Lakers: sort of poor cousins.
When the Knicks are good, it seems that everybody in this area is a Knicks fan, even people who don’t normally follow basketball.
I found this to be so true in 1969-1970, and on May 8, 1970, everybody in New York City was as proud as could be of the Knicks. I am sure people who never followed basketball followed the Knicks to the championship that year, on Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and the rest of the team’s shoulders.
The same could probably be said about 1972-1973, with Earl “The Pearl” Monroe on board, but again, I had moved out to the suburbs by then.
I get a good feeling about the current team now. Sure, there are some great teams in the NBA this year, led by the Miami Heat, a team that just came off a near-record 27-game winning streak.
But the Knicks actually beat them three of four games this year, so there is a chance for a major upset.
Anyway, led by Carmelo Anthony, it looks like the Knicks are for real again. They have a chance to do something terrific, and I am really rooting for them.
I want my son to experience something like what I experienced way back when, and this might be the year to do it.
Let’s see what happens. The playoffs are right around the corner, and anything can happen during those games.
And, would it be that crazy a thought to think that the Knicks could be NBA champions by the end of June?