Let me start by saying that I don’t think the Knicks’ season is over. While it will be extremely difficult to win 3 straight games against the Hawks. I do believe they will win game 5 in the Garden. I also believe they can go to Atlanta a win a game there. Then anything is possible in a game 7 at home. But regardless if the series ends in 5 games or if Knicks come back and advance to 2nd round, this has been a magical season worth celebrating.

A lot has been made about Knick fans being overly excited about the team’s success. You have media personalities saying “act like you’ve been there!!” or others saying “Knick fans look like fools for getting so excited about winning a playoff game in the 1st round“.

But make not mistake about it, just because Knick fans are excited, it doesn’t mean we are delusional. No sane Knick fan thinks this team will win the championship. Heck, most like myself don’t think they’ll make it to the Conference Finals. Then there are those that don’t think we will come back to beat Atlanta in the 1st round. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t be happy.

True Fandom

After 8 seasons between playoff appearances and living through the worse 20 season stretch in franchise history, one thing Knick fans have learned is, we are not entitled to anything. Unlike Laker fans that protested outside of Staples Center because they hadn’t won a championship in 9 seasons. Knick fans have learned that success doesn’t come easy, it’s earned through hard work.

One thing I have learned living through the Dolan years is what it means to be a true fan. There have been times when Dolan’s antics have tested my fandom, and had me considering switching allegiances. I like many Knick fans have adopted “cheat teams” to root for on the side in order to follow the NBA playoffs. But for as bad as the Knicks have been, I could never sell out and root for any other team over the orange and blue.

That is why when I hear people like Max Kellerman say how great it is to be a Laker fan, and how ridiculous Knick fans have acted this season, I say you are missing the point. There is no satisfaction in rooting for a team you know is going to win. Especially when there are no ties to the city you grew up in.

The appreciation and love of sports comes from sticking with your team through the bad times, and not jumping ship. There is something to seeing the team get better incrementally. Watching the young players come in as rookies and grow up in front of us. That is when true satisfaction is experienced.

Enjoying the Journey

You can’t truly enjoy your team’s success if you are not part of the journey. Moments, like seeing Julius Randle’s son, Kyden give him the Most Improved Player award after seeing the little boy cry earlier in the season when the Knicks lost the Nets.

Or watching Obi Toppin’s mom, a native New Yorker, cry as the Garden crowd cheered her son after slamming down a lob in Game 2. Instead of Obi and his family feeling entitled by complaining why the Knicks only play their lottery pick 10 minutes a night, they are grateful. Obi and his family appreciate the opportunity he was given to rep his hometown and play at Madison Square Garden.

To all the Haters…

So to the Max Kellermans of the media that want to mock the Knick fans I say this. Your boss, Jimmy Pitaro, the president of ESPN, as well as all the network executives and Adam Silver want fans to celebrate in the streets after 1st round playoff victories. It is great for the game which is great for business, which means it is great for you. So instead have mocking Knick fans you should be encouraging all the other fan bases to be as passionate as us.

This season is the start of something special. The Knicks made it to the 4th seed with the lowest payroll in the NBA. They have the 4th most draft picks over the next 7 years. They are also one of the youngest teams in the NBA. They have 4 players in their rotation under 23 years of age: Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and RJ Barrett. Their star player, Julius Randle is only 26 years old and still has a year on his contract at $20.7M. So Knick fans do have reason to be excited and the rest of the NBA has reason to be concerned.

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