Monday, July 21, 2008

The New York Knicks In Microcosm

Actual true story -- Nate Robinson, the undersized back-up non-point guard for the Isiah Thomas Knicks, and the worst slam dunk champion in this or any other era, had his jersey retired.

In a summer league. The mind boggles.

I'm trying to figure out an equivalent moment to this in any other sport, and, well, failing. Anyone want to work out a Preseason Football Hall of Fame? The Hasselbeck Wing needs to happen. A Spring Training Ring of Honor? The Temp Employee Of The Off-Season Awards at Tim Horton's for the NHL?

(Yes, Canadian Reader, I know all about your shameful morning secret. I also know that you are a Bacon Donut away from being as obese as my fellow Americans. Feel free to respond with polite outrage with incorrect vowel usages in the comments.)

But getting back to Nate the Late... I can't think of a better single person to denote the Isiah Era. He's flashy, physically gifted, has no clue how to play, doesn't help you unless his shot is falling and a car wreck defensively. Oh, and he makes his teammates worse, since his 1 on the World forays make any big man think twice about running or covering for his man when he blows by him on defense.

But thanks to his extraordinary focus on piling up numbers in minutes (games, and as this fire alarm accented moment of honor shows, leagues) that don't matter, Nate's a fan favorite among the truly clueless. Thanks to the worst contract in professional sports (Stephon Marbury, the poster child for talent that doesn't win games), he's also a more intriguing option than the "starter." (I put that in quotes, because after last year's experience, I can't imagine any NBA team wants to give the Starchild the keys to the car ever again.)

And, most importantly, no one will ever wear the number four in that summer league ever again. That's Knick-tastic!

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