Friday, November 30, 2007

The Knicks Stink

Shaughnessy directs his criticism at a new target - the New York Knicks. He says they are a joke of an organization and I have to agree that he is right although this is not a startling relevation. It is amazing to me that Thomas still has a job. And thank goodness Dolan is not the owner of the Red Sox. I am shocked that Shaughnessy did not bring up Isiah Thomas' (in)famous line about Larry Bird..where Thomas claimed that if Bird was black that he would be just another good player.

You know it is easy to carp away at Shaughnessy's style. Perhaps I need to channel Belichick and realize that "It is what it is". Nevertheless, Shank does some things over and over again and you have to wonder if he has any new tricks up his sleeve...yet, it is obvious he doesn't. Some of these annoyances include:

- Multiple Red Sox and Patriots references to benchmark the success of the Celtics (the win against the Knicks was Belichickian) -- he cant resist bringing in the other local teams

- A backhanded compliment of Theo (Danny Ainge is almost as smart as Epstein)

- A continued lack of appreciation of basic economics. Calls the NFL Network "hideous". I realize many were angry about not being able to see the game last night but as an economist, I see this as a simple case of economic forces actively at work. Shaughnessy calling the NFL Network hideous is very much a childish/ignorant reaction in my humble opinion


ObjectiveBruce said...

Dave's commentary on this column by Shaughnessy was well done. There are areas of disagreement with the columnist, and these are well-presented and seem to be presented as disagreements in both style and substance, which are legitimate, and warranted, observations.

However on the issue of Celtics-Knickerbockers, I think a bit of historic perspective is needed. Celtics fans of a certain generation cannot look at Phil Jackson without thinking "Steve Kuberski."

Celts-Knicks were never a big issue through the Celtic Glory Days. The C's had rivalries with the Phila. Warriors, the Syracuse Nationals, the St. Louis Hawks, the 76ers, the Lakers, the Cincinnati Royals, but never the Knickerbockers. The Knicks perpertually blew.

Then came the 70s. The Celtics were awful after Russell retired (Ad campaign invited fans to go see "Boston's Newest Sensation" It was Emment Bryant.) The Knicks, in the meantime, put together a dazzling team, one that to this day is one of the greatest ever: Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley.

Celts at the time were Havelick and JoJo and the Duck and no frontcourt.

Then came Cowens. And Silas. And Havlechek was no longer a sixth man/swing. And Celtics-Knicks became important. And the BU kids came out of the woodwork, but it was the Bruins era, so the C's never sold out. It was at the point where Red was so interested in protecting hte live gate, he refused to let the networks air Celtics home playoff games played at the Garden live because hte games hadn't sold out. They were delayed broadcast until 9 for a 7:30 game. Steve Fredericks, who had the original WEEI sports talk show, would promise listeners not to give Celtic scores so that listeners would listen to his program and then watch the Celts delayed broadcast as if it were live.

Strange thing happened. The Garden sold out. but it was NY kids from BU that did it. Boston responded, but there was a real Boston/NY hatred that evolved from the New York kids clashing with the locals.

As much as history says Boston-NY is a Sawx-Yankee thing, I always belive that hte modern day rivalry dates more to the local reaction to the invasion of New York Knicks fans in the early 70s than to the Yankees of 1949. As the Celts and Knicks battled in the playoffs, so too did the Rangers and Bruins, caped by a playoff game in which Cat Francis sent three players after Derek Sanderson with the sole responsibilty of drawing him into a fight so he would receive a match penalty.

As the Celts/Knicks rivalry was heating up the Sawx and Yanquis started to rebound and games between the two became important and the BU New Yorkers began to occupy the bleachers. Into the 70s, Celts/Knicks; Bruins/Rangers and Sawx/Yanquis were a big deal.

Since then, the rivalry has been romanticized as a Red Sawx/Yanqui's rivalry. But the NY/Boston clash of modern times, in my opinion, draws more from Celtics/Knicks of the early 70s, and the participation of hte NY college students, than from some 1949 game that Joe McCarthy mismanaged.

Against this backdrop, of course, we have Kuberski/Jackson. They fought, seemingly every game. I don't even recall who won the fights, other than it was NY vs. Boston. And after the 60s, when the only Boston/N.Y. rivalry came during one short period of one AFL season, it felt right to hate NY, to hate the Rangers; to hate the Knickerbockers; to hate even the Mets for stealing the thunder of the '67 Sawx with their '69 pennant. The Yanquis were a non-entity. The hate all flowed from the Knicks and their transplanted-New Yorker/BU student dedciation to buying tickets for NY /Bos games at the Garden

dbvader said...

Glaring Error:

Jim Dolan did not try to buy the Red Sox. It was his father, Charles, who tried to buy the Red Sox.

Way to go Dan. Don't let the facts get in the way of good sh#t stirring.

You have time to write that boring opus and you cannot go back and check your mistake? I already provided a link.

Dave M said...

Objective Bruce

Thanks - I will accept the sincerity of your first comment although it seems a little out of character.

My memories of the Celts in the early 70s are murky. My first real memories are watching the 74 finals and that was against the Bucks and I was living in the Carolinas at the time--dont have a strong sense of the dynamics of the Boston crowd.

In my memory, the only time that the Celts and Knicks were really rivals was in the early-mid 80s when Bernard King played for the Knicks. I remember some good battles then.

I am surprised that both you and Shaughnessy fail to mention that Red Auerbach considered the idea of taking a job with the Knicks at one point in 1978. I believe it was less of a desire to go to New York as it was a jab at the Celtics' ownership at the time which he did not like. I guess I should not be surprised that Shaughnessy did not mention it - would have messed up his story line.