For readers tired of our speculations about whether paleos are from MARs, I wanted to point the attention of any sports fans to a great piece in New York magazine about the Knicks. At a time when the NBA is experiencing a revival, one of its signature franchises has been sidelined by Isiah Thomas. Jeff Coplan’s piece is the best summary of the Thomas disaster I’ve read.
Now that the Thomas era is dead, the obituary can be written. The temptation in these moments is to gloss over the faults of the deceased—to remember through a lens, brightly. But Isiah’s tenure was so contemptible—so bereft of redeeming value, on court or off—that such tenderness is hard to muster. In the Knicks’ me-first self-regard, they’ve blasphemed the most gorgeously collaborative of games. Worse, they’ve severed the connection between players and fans, that idealized first-person plural that makes us part of something large and wondrous. It’s not so easy to love a pro sports team in the 21st century, yet we’re willing to lend our heart, and get hurt, and lend it again. The Knicks have made that impossible. The storied brand of McGuire and Frazier and Ewing has been rendered unlovable.