Jeremy LinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s done some amazing things the past two weeks, including making me not hate the Knicks quite so much. Make no mistake, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a Knicks fan, have been since I was a kid. But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve also spent the past year largely detesting the team because there was so little to like.
Tough love: The enduring relevance of Oak
The narrative after Charles OakleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tour de force at the K1X store in Soho on Saturday was that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a loose cannon, not afraid to speak his mind because, well, who messes with Oak? I was there for Dime Magazine, and that was the angle we took. It pretty much had to be.
If you paid close attention, though, there was one topic Oak wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk about even when prodded: the NBA lockout. Logically, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the one thing he thought he might actually get fined for speaking his mind about.
But there was also a hint of underlying sadness Ã¢â‚¬â€œ perhaps Oakley couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk about the lockout, but it also seemed as if he simply didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to, since it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come close to representing the ideals he always applied to his chosen profession.
LeBron and the Knicks: Everything in its right place
As I sat in the MCI Center and watched LeBron James in the 2003 Jordan Capital Classic, his final game as a high schooler, I fantasized that the next time IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d watch him play live would be at Madison Square Garden.
And heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be wearing Knicks blue and orange.
The Knicks, of course, did not win the 2003 Draft lottery — they only had a 1.5 percent shot at the No. 1 pick. I held out some hope for the magical Summer of 2010, but LeBron infamously decided that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not about saving franchises.
So though it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite the way I imagined it, after eight years, I decided it was finally time to go see LeBron at the Garden.
Look Closer: Images and thoughts from Knicks open practice
Sitting in Madison Square Garden during last SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s open practice, it was obvious to me just how much the Knicks want to reconnect with their fans.
And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just as clear how badly the fans, myself included, want to reconnect with the Knicks.
Counterpoint: Rethinking New York’s impending Summer of LeBron
I had a summit at an East Village bar last night with two members of the SportsAngle brain trust Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Frank Pepe of Trumbull Island and Mr. Han, the self-appointed U.S. ambassador to Iceland Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and our conversation of course veered toward the Summer of LeBron.
Frozen moment: Knicks’ tenuous wait for LeBron has virtue in itself
About a decade ago, Jimmy Johnson said something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always liked:
You can play it safe and be good, or you can take a chance and be great.
Unfortunately, the DolphinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ then-coach said that to justify his pick of Daryl Gardener over some guy named Ray Lewis in the 1996 NFL Draft. But the words Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if not the defensive tackle Ã¢â‚¬â€œ stuck with me over the years.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to believe that when a shot at greatness presents itself, which doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen all that often, you owe it to yourself to go for it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clichÃƒÂ©d, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s almost always 100% true: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better to regret something you did than something you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why for the first time in a long time, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m cautiously excited about the Knicks. Donnie Walsh is trying to shoot the moon, and I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be more in favor of it.
Garden variety: Cheap-seats fans bide time as Knicks head for change
I checked out the Knicks for the first time this season at the Garden on Friday night, and of course I looked up in the second quarter and they were down 53-26 to the Raptors.
Despite that, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not exactly the same old Knicks anymore. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a newfound underlying feeling of hope about the team now. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re no longer permanently buried in salary cap hell. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re no longer under the iron fist of franchise murderer Isiah Thomas. This might all be different at this time next season.