I grew up in New York but was never a fan of the Knicks…November 12, 2009
If you’re a late 20 something male New Yorker like myself I’m sure you’ve heard those words rapped by the late great Lamont Coleman, otherwise known as Big L. Big L for those who don’t know, was probably the dopest lyricist to ever come out of Harlem, not Jim Jones, Camron, Juelz Santana or God forbid Mase. He was unexpectedly taken from us in 1999 when he was slain outside of his apartment on 139th street. Though I never agreed with what he said there were definitely times in my life where I was close to ditching the Knicks.
One of those times was last year when I woke up in the morning to find a text message from my homie C Black saying that the Knicks just traded Jamal Crawford to Golden State for Al Harrington. To say the least I was pissed the fuck off, Jamal was my favorite Knick since Latrell Sprewell and he was the teams most prolific scorer. The Knicks were also off to a 6-5 start under the first year management and coaching of Donnie Walsh and Mike D’antoni respectively and I thought we had a decent shot of winning 40 games. I immediately turned on ESPN to see if he was just messing with me and he wasn’t. Later on that day the deal was completed along with another trade that sent Zach Randolph packing to the Clippers.
Yeah I know most of you reading this post are like WTF, Jamal Crawford? He was a chucker, took bad shots and played no defense. Yes this was all true but how hyped were you when he threw the ball of the backboard and caught it for a dunk, not once but twice? How about that deadly cross over that looked like he just came from balling from the Rucker or the Cage? How about January 26th 2007? Jamal dropped 52 points hitting 8 straight three pointers and at one point hitting 16 shots in a row. He is only the fourth player in NBA history behind greats Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain and Bernard King to score 50 points for three different teams.
Armed with slick ball handling skills and a quick release jump shot with unlimited range, JC’s game is reminiscent of a prototypical New Yorker but he was born and raised in Seattle Washington. He can play both the 1 and 2 positions, a tweener as its most commonly known and has a killer and I mean KILLER crossover. Over the course of his career he has been comfortable starting or coming off the bench, he’s had success doing both and has averaged 15 points over 9 years in the L. He is also an active member of every community he’s played in as well as his home town of Seattle. He is also one of the few guys in the NBA who are truly down to earth and real. His attitude and demeanor are truly that of a professional, he is a class act that remains atop my favorite player list regardless of what team he plays on.
Al Harrington is not a bad guy and he’s a decent ball player. He hails from Orange New Jersey and played his high school ball at St. Patrick’s high school in Elizabeth. He skipped college and was drafted in the 1st round by current Knick GM Donnie Walsh by the Indiana Pacers. He’s averaged 14 points for his career and had his best season last year with the Knicks when he boosted his points per game average to 19.2.
My issue with Al is that he is a ball hog who takes horrific shots. Yes he can get hot and score in bunches but he’s never displayed his ability to make anyone better around him. He also stands at 6 feet 9 inches but plays like he’s 6 foot 5. He has never demonstrated a post game at the power forward position and he can instantly shoot a team out of a game. The guy rarely makes good decisions with the basketball especially when he’s holding on to it. His defense is also usually never anywhere to be found.
I post this because Jamal made more sense to stay in New York than any other player. He was here for the worst of it and I think he deserved to be here when things got better. Jamal never complained or griped, he only focused on the possibility of the Knicks regaining their prominence.
“Last year was the best start in the last 10 years,” said Jamal Crawford, who spent four-plus seasons in New York. “My only regret was that I was here through the roughest times, I wanted to be here for the good times. That’s what bothers me the most.”
I also believe that he would have taken less money to stay in New York because he loved playing here, he is currently on a 2 year 20 million plus deal with a player option at the end of this season. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade who are both free agents in 2010 and are on the Knicks radar, have consistently won on their respective teams. I highly doubt that we can lure them to New York by just money and the bright lights. They both need to be on a team that is established in some aspect or a team that is at least competitive so that their talent can do the rest and take over where it needs to. I also believe that if either James or Wade were coupled with a player like Jamal Crawford we wouldn’t need two free agents in 2010 with max deals.
Simply put the Knicks are talent thin, the Harrington Crawford swap was lopsided I feel because Jamal is a much more gifted basketball player than Al Harrington is. The Knicks look to be on their way to another lottery draft pick by seasons end, and with whatever pick they end up with it will be owned by the Utah Jazz. If they fail to bring any superstars next year they will be in for 10 consecutive losing seasons. At this pace as the losses keep piling up and the magic of playing in Madison Square Garden begins to fade, New York the Mecca of Basketball will only be a destination for players of sub par talent and skill.
My only hope is that I am wrong and the money we freed up by trading Jamal Crawford turns out to be a max deal for either Lebron James, Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh. The deals that the Knick management has made or failed to make is reasoning enough to go mad, and whenever I think about ditching this squad for some other team I always say ” I grew up in New York and will ALWAYS be a fan of the Knicks”
Young J Fresh