I’ve often heard the brain compared to a computer and our memories likened to files we store on our cerebral hard drive. If this is true, and my brain is my most personal of personal computers, then my positive New York Knicks memories have a lot in common with the Dancing Baby mpegs I’ve had sitting dormant on my external computer since 1997. Neither my joyous Knicks memories nor the Dancing Baby have been accessed in quite a while, yet I find myself unable to delete either.
In agreeing to join StopMikeLupica‘s cipher of Knick blogger memories, I’ve decided to put my boycott of Isiah Thomas on hold, don my John Starks jersey one more time, and dust off a few of my ancient recollections of positive Knickbocker experiences. What you are about to read may be unbelievable and, in light of recent Knicks history, you may even doubt their actual occurrence. But just as you may not believe in a time when gasoline was only $1.25 a gallon or Lisa Loeb was popular, I swear it’s all true.
June 22, 1994: Knicks-Rockets, Game 7 of the 1994 Finals. Yes, the game John Starks went 2 for 18. Also the day I took my driving exam for the third time and finally passed. As one could expect, I was in full Knicks’ gear, happily sporting my new Starks jersey. It would be the first of many drivers’ license photos I took dressed as John Starks. Until recently, each time I needed to take a new license photo, out came the jersey. Yes, I even still have it. As a matter of fact, the last time I wore it in public, a bartender gave me a free pitcher of beer. Nothing wrong with that.
May 21, 1995: Knicks-Pacers, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. You might know this game as “the game Patrick Ewing missed the finger-roll”. For me however, it is “the game my great-grandmother watched with me so I didn’t have to leave my grandparents’ house until the game was over”. My parents, not the biggest basketball fans around, have an awful sense of timing sometimes. This was definitely one of those times. As the Knicks and Pacers were about to begin the fourth quarter of what I remember to be a back and forth battle, my parents decided it would a great time to end our family visit and begin our two and half hour drive home. Luckily for me, my 90-year old great-grandmother had sat next to me and started watching the game. Even better, she was actually interested. Honestly, I don’t think the woman had ever watched a basketball game before in her life. You know what? She couldn’t have picked a better one to start. Although Pat missed the final shot and I was definitely disappointed, once I realized I might not have known what happened until the next morning had she not been there, I had to thank my great-grandmother for watching with me.
May 14, 1997: Knicks-Heat, Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Wow, has it been 10 years already? I feel old. Anyway, during my time in the military, I had a roommate from Hialeah, FL, just outside of Miami. Although not a die-hard Heat fan (thank goodness) he did agree to join me at the base sports bar to watch the Knicks-Heat game. And what it a game it was. Down 86-69 with less than two minutes to play, all hell broke loose when P.J. Brown flipped Charlie Ward. Craziness. You know what happened then: undermanned for the next two games, the Knicks lost the series. Probably the worst thing about it for me however, was a 10 dollar bet I made with another friend that the Knicks would beat the Bulls in the playoffs. I was so livid at what happened to the Knicks I acted like a punk and refused to pay until the Heat were eliminated. Not one of my proudest moments. Freakin’ P.J. Brown.
Unfortunately, after surprisingly making 1999 Finals, my memorable Knicks moments have been few and far between. For the last seven years, all I’ve had have been either the occasional highlight (Nate Robinson blocking Yao, David Lee’s tip-in, etc.) or the return of heroes to the Garden (Ewing, Starks, Ward, Oakley, etc.). As I mentioned in describing my Isiah boycott, it’s enough to make a man want to grab an acoustic guitar and a bottle of whiskey and sing to the moonlit sky. But since I can’t play guitar, I guess I’ll have to find those Dancing Baby mpegs. I could use a good laugh.
Next up, you’ll hear from the always loquacious Barnesgasm from Son of Dippin. Puff, puff, pass. Don’t break the cipher.