Your time is up…

Flashback to 1990…

I admit, in between practice and detention, I definitely watched this; sadly, I even rocked the sideburns for a few years. Hey, it worked! (Kelly was my favorite)

We all watched this…(I’m going outside to get the papers, get the papers)

Thankfully, however, I was never married to fashion to the point of ever leaving the house wearing these…things…

Here’s something else I did in 1990.

I watched a young Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks 82 times during the regular season, and for five riveting games with the Boston Celtics that spring.

I watched in horror as the Knicks dropped the first two games, before somehow, while staring history in the face, clawing back to beat the vaunted Celts on the fabled parquet floor in a decisive Game 5.

I watched in my basement in Brooklyn, with my old man, a retired New York Detective, the person solely responsible for igniting the basketball flame that burns so strongly inside of me.

Recently married, I will now watch the playoffs with my wife, an avid sports fan, and hopefully, God willing, in the future with our children. I too, will teach them about the game, with an eye on the life lessons the games undeniably offer as much as the game itself.

So much has changed since then, really.

In 1990, I was a junior in High School, hoping to become the next Chris Mullin, and the next Don Mattingly. Eventually, baseball helped pay for college, and enabled me to compete at the highest collegiate level: Division 1.

Now, as a talk show host, I am lucky enough to actually chat with Chris every Wednesday. A couple of kids from Flatbush, talking shop.

Every game, Dad was there, in his chair, down the right field foul line. Thankful his son was able to eventually side-step the trouble and distractions brought upon by, well, me.

He would drive north to Poughkeepsie and in addition to slipping me a few bucks (beer! food!), he always came armed with the New York newspapers.

I inhaled the Knicks coverage in my dorm room.

That was my drug.

Most phone conversations from campus to Brooklyn with Dad centered around the Knicks. Sure, he’d ask about school, but after deftly dodging the question, I was able to quickly bring it back to the diamond, and once again, yup, you guessed it: the Knicks.

By this point, the enemy was now Chicago and Indiana, with Miami slowly entering our radar.

But before all of that, there was the spring of 1990 and the epic 5 game showdown with Boston.

And here they are again.

And while I now have a TV that’s nearly 60″ with more options than a controller has at NASA, not much has changed in this regard:

The 2010-11 Boston Celtics are vulnerable.

Just like the 1989-90 Boston Celtics were vulnerable.

Quite frankly, the parallels are amazing.

Like the Bird-led model, this crop of cagers from Beantown are flat-out old.

Spare me the “experienced” stuff and the “DNA” pleasantries, not interested.

Old is old.

Larry Bird was 34, Kevin McHale was 32, Robert Parish was 36 and Dennis Johnson was 35.

Well guess what?

40 may be the new “20” in fashion magazines, but not in the NBA. In the NBA, speed and athleticism and explosion is rewarded. Anything other than that is exploited.

Ray Allen is 35.

Kevin Garnett is 34.

Paul Pierce is 33.

Factor in all the playoff miles they’ve collectively logged, and the needle on the odometer is about to burst.

The question remains, are the Knicks talented enough to hit the gas with such fury and such repetition, and pound it to the point where the Celts need the ropes to avoid hitting the mat?

Can they get a meaningful 4th quarter stop?

You know what I say?

Why the hell not.

In Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudamire, the Knicks have the two most talented players on the court. 40% of the Knicks starting five has, arguably, two of the top 10-12 players in basketball.

Stoudemire enjoyed a much-needed stop at the pump during the last week of the season. After carrying the Knicks for months, he earned the brief respite.

He’s fresh.

Of equal importance, Anthony and Chauncey Billups assumed greater ownership of the offense in his absence. They expanded their games, and are no longer thinking.

They are simply ballin’.

You want Pierce? I’ll take ‘Melo.

You want KG? Be my guest, I’ll saddle up with Amar’e.

In so many ways, this series comes down to Rajon Rondo and Chauncey Billups.

Long term, it’s not even close. But right now, Rondo is battling some basketball demons.

He’s essentially afraid to take a jump shot.

Conversely, Billups goes by the well earned-moniker “Mr. Big Shot.”

1990.

2011.

Literally, thanks to technology, a world apart.

But if you look real close, you’ll notice one thing remains exactly the same.

The Boston Celtics are old.

And very vulnerable.

And oh yeah, I’m still lucky enough to talk hoops with my Dad.

Knicks in 6.

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3 Comments

  1. Hey Brandon,
    Loved the read. Your life and mine really parallel in regards to our love for the Knicks and being able to share that with our fathers. I was too young to remember much of the Knicks in the 90s, but watching the games with my dad as a grade-schooler and middle-schooler instilled the Knicks pride and die-hardness that I continue to watch with today. Unfortunately I can’t talk hoops with my Dad anymore, but still feel a great connection when watching the games.

    While I think that Billups (and Douglas to a large extent) will be key to the series, I think the Knicks will go as far as Amar’e will take them. Melo is the best player on the floor and could very well will the Knicks to victory, but Amar’e is key. If he plays with the tenacity on both sides of the ball, commits to defense and rebounding, and is in sync on offense then the Knicks can’t be stopped. While a center is needed in the offseason, as well as maybe another role player or two, the Knicks can roll with their two superstars that complement each other better than any other two superstars in the league. Knicks in 6….Go Knicks!!!!

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