Recently, the New York Knicks organization has reached a new low.
During Wednesday night’s game, against the Los Angeles Clippers, Knicks legend Charles Oakley got into an altercation with security at the Garden. According to Oakley, he had tickets to the game, and he wanted to enjoy the game as a fan.
Oakley happened to be seated close to James Dolan, and once Dolan turned around and laid his googly-eyes on Oakley, suddenly fear ran through his body, and he called on security to save him from the man known as “Oak Tree.” In true “Oak Tree” fashion, he told security to get off him, and he shoved a few, for good measure, before he was escorted off the court by a legion of the Garden’s finest.
There are many things in the universe that changes over time, but the one thing that doesn’t change is Charles Oakley being about that life.
The fight Oakley showed against security is the same fight he had on the court when he donned the blue and orange. He was the enforcer of a Knicks team that bullied opponents back in the 90s, and his “take no prisoners” attitude is what endeared him to the Garden crowd.
Oakley may not have been from New York, but he embodied what New York is all about on the court.
Knicks fans identify with Oakley, and it was sad to see Oakley treated like he’s some raucous fan. Whatever happened to the mantra “Once a Knick, always a Knick?” Apparently, this mantra doesn’t apply to Oakley, who is a Garden favorite.
Dolan continuously tries to find different ways to make Knicks fans hate him.
Whether Oakley was in the wrong or not, this incident is another blemish on the Knicks organization. No organization should treat their former players, especially one as beloved as Oakley, the way the Knicks did on Wednesday night. Due to this incident, and many others, it’s not hard to believe why big name free agents stay far away from the bright lights of New York City.
Besides Dolan being a disgrace to all NBA owners, another key figure who has contributed to the Knicks being a laughing stock, as of late, is none other than Phil “Subliminal Tweets” Jackson.
Jackson’s tweet game is the same as his basketball operations game — non-existent. Since he became President of Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks, the Knicks have a dismal 81-152 record. To most owners, that would be considered unacceptable, but not to Dolan, who continues to rape Knicks fans of their money, every season, with the illusion that he’s hiring the right people to put a good product on the court.
Many fans love to shift the blame on Carmelo Anthony, which is evident from the loud boos he has been receiving lately from the ungrateful Garden crowd, but is Anthony really the problem?
Before Jackson arrived, the Knicks were 131-112 with Anthony, and the Knicks made three straight playoff appearances. If previous presidents were able to win games with Anthony, what is Jackson’s excuse for not being able to do the same?
Besides drafting Kristaps Porzingis, bringing in young talent like Willy Hernangomez, and providing the Knicks with some cap flexibility, Jackson has failed in many ways.
His trades left a lot to be desired. One of his failed trades — Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two second round picks — gave the Knicks little value in return for two of their main pieces of the 54-28 team in 2012-13.
Calderon was past his prime. Dalembert was near retirement. Nowadays, Larkin is nowhere to be found; maybe he should have followed in his dad’s footsteps and played baseball, and currently, Wayne Ellington is busy getting his ankles broken in Miami.
Another trade open for criticism is the J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert trade to Cleveland. In return, the Knicks received Alex Kirk (who?), Lou Amundson (good energy guy, but no offensive game), Lance Thomas (ended up being a good pick up until he began to suffer from plantar fasciitis), and a 2019 second round pick.
Also, Jackson’s coaching hires have been mediocre at best. First, he hired Derek Fisher who had no previous coaching experience. That was a decent hire before the Knicks began to slump, in the 2015-16 season, after Anthony suffered an injury. Also, it didn’t help that, according to rumors, Fisher became “Mr. Steal Ya Girl” with his players’ girlfriends.
To this day, Fisher is still on the run from Matt Barnes, but I digress.
Afterwards, Kurt Rambis took over as an interim head coach, and that didn’t work so well either — which is no surprise. After all, Rambis did have a 32-132 record during his stint as a head coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This season, Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek as head coach, and under Hornacek’s tutelage, the Knicks have become allergic to defense. The Garden crowd should shout “Ole” every time a Knicks player allows a guard to blow by him to the rim — or in other words, every time a Knicks player plays matador defense.
Jackson hasn’t proven his worth as a president of basketball operations, yet he has the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to sit there and bloviate about his eleven rings, that he earned as a coach, like as if that gives him clout, as a president, to throw repeated shade at Anthony — and yes, I had to channel my inner Stephen A. Smith.
Anthony has been nothing but a consummate professional since he came to the Knicks, and he deserves to be treated with respect from management and the fans. It may be time for Anthony to move on, but that doesn’t mean he deserves the disrespect he has received from the fans, the media, and the failed President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson.
The current turmoil around the Knicks organization is due to Dolan and Jackson. In a perfect world, Knicks fans wish Dolan would sell the team, and Jackson would step down, or get fired, but unfortunately, that is easier said than done.
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