I called my uncle last Monday afternoon. He's lived in North Jersey pretending to be a New Yorker his entire life. He swears he's never missed a meaningful Knicks game at Madison Square Garden over the last 40 years, yet I know for a fact my grandfather didn't take five-year-old Uncle Robert to the 1970 NBA Finals.
Still, he's right in the prime age group that now complains "The Garden is no longer The Garden." Uncle Robert took his daughter to the Knicks' 96-92 March 29th loss to the Boston Celtics two days prior. He was incessant with his disgust at what the Knicks have become.
The Garden just isn't the same anymore. It's never a packed house. Derek Fisher is a disgrace. That offense is horrible. I don't care if they get the the No. 1 pick this summer, there's no way a core of Carmelo, Jahlil Okafor and Alexey goddam Shved is going to amount to anything in this league. I've just had it with professional basketball, man. I'm going to dive into the college game, start rooting for St. John's or something.
It's truly incredible that Knicks fans' self-loathing isn't matched with equal ridicule from around the league of how bleak New York's current state is. Heading into tonight's matchup with the Sixers, the Knicks are clearly the league's worst team and so many will still be chanting Philadelphia is a disgrace to the NBA, a laughingstock and an embarrassment.
We've all heard it. But we've all — if you're reading this, you're certainly grouped into this category — blurred out the noise. We've seen Nerlens Noel's growth following the trade deadline. We've seen Brett Brown shape a top defense with very little established NBA talent. The Sixers' collective development have left very few reasonable fans unsatisfied this season. Nobody in their right mind has left the Wells Fargo Center this year discouraged about the team's future.
Hopefully the Sixers can infuse a little positivity into the Garden tonight. Knicks fans like my uncle need to witness an up-start, fun, running-and-gunning group to rekindle their love of NBA basketball.