’93 Til………….

1993-1994 was a weird sports year for me. Fresh off a 2nd consecutive Super Bowl win, Jerry Jones lost his mind and started the downward spiral that we now call the Dallas Cowboys.

The Texas Rangers were just exciting enough to grab fans’ attention, but not quite good enough to make it pay off.

The Dallas Mavericks were awful, and it wasn’t until we finally got cable at  our house, that I was able to see the other options out there. To give you a sense of how pathetic the Quinn Buckner  run Mavs were, the Cowboys won more games than they did that season.

My mother and I moved to Dallas from the suburbs, and one of the few perks of that move was that we finally got cable (and free pay-per-view, but that is a tale for another site). Now I could not only watch the national games on NBC, but if I wished I could watch WGN (home of the “GOAT” Michael Jeffrey Jordan), and now I could watch ESPN highlights of other teams.

The Suns were fun to watch back then, but the Knicks had a particular appeal to me as well. My dislike for MJ and my respect for Pat Riley forced me to take notice of a budding rivalry growing between the two teams. When I watched the ’92 Eastern Conference Finals,

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it was the first time basketball had gotten my hyped about a matchup that wasn’t Cowboys-Niners. I liked that there was an actual team that would stand up to the Bulls and not be intimidated by his “airness.”

The 92 Knicks pushed the Bulls to the brink before they got their asses handed to them in game 6 of the ECF. The Bulls of course went on to beat the Suns in the Finals.

Xavier McDaniel had a cool name and looked cool, and the Knicks jerseys were dope (I also always wanted this T-shirt). I could fuck with these cats.

Now what did I know about basektball back then? Barely anything at all. But I couldn’t stand Jordan. He traveled and refs never called him for it. He was constantly palming the ball, and if you breathed on him, you got called for a foul.

Loving that era of Knicks basketball is akin to thinking about the girls I dated when I was a teenager. I didn’t know anything about romance, love, or basketball. I just went with what felt good (and what was convenient).

Knicks presented an alternative to what everyone else liked, so I went with it. There is no way I’d watch a team like that these days (Grit N’ Grind Grizz maybe the closest thing we have to those Knicks squads).

Compared to the free flowing movement, and teamball played in today’s era, those Knicks teams played mud ball. They were tough, physical, but watching them score was like trying to “squeeze blood from a turnip.”

Much like the Grit N’ Grind Grizzlies though, there were some characters on those squads. Even though I grew up loving the 80’s Hurricanes, Charlie Ward was a dude I respected, because he’d won a Heisman at Florida State, and he’d always given the Hurricanes the fits. The fact that he also was good enough to play professional basketball was very impressive (he, Bobby Sura, and Sam Cassell were the first 3 guard backcourt I’d ever seen).

Anthony Mason (R.I.P.) was like a left-handed poor man’s Boris Diaw, who always had a fresh cut. He was a big man who could handle the rock, was a great passer, and a good finisher at the rim.

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John Starks had a bad ass commercial that will forever be a bond for me and my little brother. There was also of course this dunk that will forever be in the playoff pantheon of dunks.

A lot of people dug Patrick Ewing, but I was more into Oakley as a player. I’m not sure if I ever forgave him for not yamming that botched finger roll against the Pacers that would have given them a chance for the Conference title in 1995. Ewing was finesse, but Oakly was a rock, and the team enforcer.

Offensively he didn’t do a whole lot, but he was an underrated passer, and a pretty decent rebounder (though let’s be honest I didn’t know shit about rebounding back then).  What I liked most about Oakley though was that no one fucked with him. 2684052-9996374918-charl

The look on his face was enough of a veiled threat that only the biggest and baddest would dare to take him on. This of course was great theater to 15 year old me.

Greg Anthony, star point guard of the UNLV Running Rebels, was my dude. I feel like he didn’t get enough run in New York, but I suspect that it may have been because he was a defensive liablity. When he moved west to Portland, I instantly tuned into more Trailblazers games.

Another reason to root for the Knicks was that at one point, they had at least 3 former Dallas Mavericks on their squad: Derek Harper, Rolando Blackmon, Herb Williams, and even James Donaldson had a cup of coffee and an “Everything” bagel with Whitefish there in New York.

Of that group, Harper was the only one to really contribute anything offensively. “Ro” at this point was too old to get major run, although Herb Williams was decent enough to give 6 fouls as a big man (and as a teenager became code for scoring bud–like “Hey did ya’ll invite Herb Williams to come play pickup with us?”).

Poor Charles Smith will always be known for getting his cookies taken from him.

I was never what you would call a Knicks fan, but I rooted for them. In the summer of 1994, I was either watching a Knicks game, or a New York Rangers game, and I thought it was cool that the city of New York (which back then was still a bit of an absraction that I would never fully comprehend until my first visit there in 2000) could get two major championships within a week’s time span.

I was too removed to be more than mildly disappointed after each playoff loss (always under the weirdest circumstances too, remember this?). By the time they got to the post-lockout Finals, I was barely into sports at all (I affectionately call this period my “foggy” years).

NBA basketball is always more exciting when the Knicks are relevant, and its imperative that I visit Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game sometime in the near future.

The future is bright for Knicks fans. They seem to be moving int he right direction, and believe it or not, I trust in Phil. I hope they make the playoffs this year, and I hope they finally become serious contenders within the next 3-4 years. masonriley1

Though the 90’s Knicks never won a title, the fact that Pat Riley was able to build something worth rooting for is a testament to how brilliant he is. That team was not very talented at all, but everyone knew their role and worked with the skill set they posessed.

Pat Riley went from “Showtime Lakers” to the bruising style of basketball that epitomized what people thought of New York. Riley just worked with what he had, and it is no accident that the Van Gundy brothers (who worked with Riley) are renowned for their ability to get their teams to overachieve.

Only a fool would call them losers. They got the most out of their abilities and pushed every team they played to the brink. Knicks fans should be proud of those teams despite their perennial disappointing endings. They never laid down, and they always fought to the very end; which is all you can ever ask of any team that you root for.

 

 

 

 

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Just the Tip

Things are starting to get pretty interesting out on the roundball court. There were some good ass games this past week. The Cavaliers-Lakers game was weirdly entertaining. It felt like I was watching a really fun pickup game. Nothing was at stake, it was just a regular season team between two losing teams. It was cool just watching Kobe and Lebron interact throughout the affair–laughing and joking during timeouts and in less active transitional periods.

Clippers-Blazers won the “Good Ass Game of the Week” award by default, barely beating out Phoenix-Cleveland from Tuesday night’s slate of games.

I got a chance yesterday to watch some college hoops, and though Duke-Louisville let me down, I was certainly impressed with Jahlil Okafor’s game. He dominated the post in the second half of that game yesterday, with most of his scoring coming after the half. He has great footwork and soft hands. He is clearly the first pick in next year’s draft. I think Montrezl Harrell can carve himself a niche in the league too. Bro just looks built to ball.

Kansas-Iowa State was a great affair, and the cyclone fans were HYPE!!! during last night’s engagement. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was about as loud and adverse and atmosphere that a team can go into. Kansas played sloppily and the Hoibergs made them pay with every mistake.

Their guard play was pretty phenomenal, Naz Long put up 20 points and had 5 boards. 6 Iowa State players hit double figures in scoring. Even after the Jayhawks scored, the Cyclones were already pushing the ball up the court with crisp outlet passes–rather than trying to dribble the length of the floor.

They are a good passing team, and should be respected. Fred Hoiberg is legit, and he’ll be bringing his boys to Lawrence the first week of February, in a can’t miss affair.

Good Ass Games of the Week:

Monday

What better way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther (the) King than by watching bruthas make millions of dollars for playing the most beautiful game ever created.

It would be dismissive of me not to include a couple of Eastern Conference teams on this slate, both Detroit and Atlanta have been playing great ball of late. Atlanta has won 12 straight and has a 10-3 record against the West this year. They are legit. I was one last year who was kind of skeptical of what “good” meant in the east, but the Hawks are the real deal.

Their games are fun to watch too. They pass the ball as well as the Spurs, Warriors, and Phoenix Suns. They have some ballers in Paul Milsap (who I thought the Thunder should have made a run at years ago), Al Horford, Kyle Korver (the 50-50-90 club????), and Jeff Teague have made it impossible for me to ignore their ballclub. ATLIENS, I stand corrected.

Denver-Golden State Speaking of balling, Golden State smacked Houston on the second end of back-to-back games. 131-106.

Dallas-Memphis If Mike Conley played in the Eastern Conference, he’d be a sure fire All-Star. Unfortunately the West is loaded right now. How do you sort that out? Kobe will probably get voted in since its his last productive year, which takes up another guard spot. We’ll see. The Grizzlies backcourt matches up well with the Mavericks’ Ellis and Rondo.

Sacramento-Portland will be highly competitive, and might be better than the Chicago-Cleveland game that night. Neither the Cavs or Bulls are playing all that well of late (the last 5-7 games).

Tuesday
Thunder-Heat Thing were turnt up in OKC on Friday. Durant shot 14-18 and scored 36. Westbrook had an insane stat line of 17 points, 17 assists , and 15 rebounds.

They are poised to make a run soon, and it looks like Dion Waiters may be a good fit after all. Word on the street is that “Perk” and Reggie Jackson will be the next pieces moved. Does this mean Brooklyn is willing to part with Brook Lopez for a big man, a draft pick and a little Reggie thrown in for good measure? Stay tuned.

Wednesday

Toronto-Memphis I’ve always wondered what a fight between a Grizzly Bear and a dinosaur would look like.

Houston-Golden State
Yes. Please.

Portland-Phoenix Oh so much good ass basketball this week.

Lakers-Pellies Only if you are desperate.

Oklahoma City-Washington
Worth checking out only because the game is in D.C.

KD goes HOME.

Thursday

Spurs-Bulls
There are going to be some sick dimes thrown in this game. If you like big men who know how to pass, don’t put an ad out on Craigslist, just tune in to this game. Trust me. I was a doctor for Halloween once.

Friday

Happy Hour can’t get here soon enough with this Oklahoma City-Atlanta game to kick off the weekend.

Houston-Phoenix will be a game that gets into high 100’s for both teams. Sacramento will get slapped by Golden State. In case you forgot about this game

‘Nuff Said.

Saturday

Wizards-Blazers. The best matchup of backcourts you will see that night.

Sunday
HEY! DO I HAVE THE HANGOVER CURE FOR YOU!!!!!!!

Oklahoma City-Cleveland
Clippers-Suns

What else you gonna do, watch the NFL PRO BOWL?

BUSTER OF THE WEEK AWARD:

Oh it pains me so much to do this. This is a man’s whose career I have followed since he was running the show in Las Vegas. I watched him with the Knicks and Blazers, and enjoyed his voice as a basketball analyst for CBS and TNT.

My man Greg Anthony got busted Friday night on charges of soliciting a prostitute when he was in D.C. He was supposed to call the Maryland-Michigan State game and decided to see more than the usual tourist sights. CBS has suspended him for the rest of the year, and so has Turner Broadcasting. The only way this story can get worse is if Marion Barry and Rob Ford were hiding in his bedroom with cocaine and a videotape.

Now I don’t know what happened. Apparently he just picked the wrong day to get a pro.There was a sting operation by the police. We still don’t know if she was a streetwalker or an escort, but I figured my man had more game than that. I’m not one to judge.

Things happen, and I’ve been to Amsterdam so you can probably guess what my opinion is on prostitution. I guess the law is the law. It’s terrible news though, this man’s career is in jeopardy because he is accused of trying to purchase sex. Maybe my sympathies are in the wrong place, but I feel for him. It can all be taken away so easily.

Enjoy this week’s slate of games, and remember to make good choices. As these NFL Playoffs have shown, there is a very thin margin of error that separates the winning and losing locker rooms.

PEACE.
BM

#THISAGOODASSGAME
@clickpicka79
bobbymickey@gmail.com