The Love Affair With The Knicks

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I understand ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, is based in the northeast. And I understand the largest share of their viewers are either from or pull for a team in the larger sports markets in that part of the country. But as evidenced with the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, fans of teams outside of those markets couldn’t care less about them or the attention ESPN and other media outlets shove down our throats.

The newest example of this would be your basketball franchise in the Big Apple, the famed New York Knicks. Most know the Knicks have been in basketball purgatory for the better half of a decade now, thus with Amar’e Stoudemire pushing the team back to relevance as an NBA franchise has the media in a frenzy.

East Coast BiasI will admit I thought Amar’e would be just another guy in this league without Steve Nash, but he is having an MVP-caliber season thus far. The Knicks are playing much better than anticipated and Amar’e is the reason why, giving many reason to believe they could be on the verge of joining the playoff battle in the East.

That’s great… but when was the last time a team got beat by the Celtics and THAT defeat served as the NBA’s biggest story for over THREE days?

We’re just over a quarter into the NBA season and the media is acting like the Knicks are about to threaten the Bulls single-season wins record. It’s over-hyped, which is something that has turned people away from the major media outlets and more towards blogs and independent sports coverage in recent times.

Do the Knicks deserve credit? Absolutely. Everyone thought Amar’e was a moron for leaving Phoenix for New York, registered by most as a cash-grab. But he looks like he actually did his homework when he decided to be reunited with Mike D’Antoni in New York. He has made everyone on that roster better and is making all the big plays at the end of games to win.

We’re still talking about a team ranked sixth in its conference, way back in Boston’s rear-view mirror, and if this team played anywhere but New York we wouldn’t be hearing a peep about this.

For example, the Hornets are doing the same thing in a tougher conference with the distraction of the team being sold to the league. But only fans who do more than highlights know it.

The Knicks are the Jets of the NBA: a team you wouldn’t hear anything about if they played anywhere besides the Big Apple.

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Media bias is nothing new. It has turned the biggest Brett Favre fans into disgruntled folks who absolutely despise the man. It turned LeBron James into the most hated athlete since Mike Vick. It transformed Tiger Woods from a sporting icon into a punch line.

We don’t have media anymore… we have paparazzi.

As far as the Knicks, I hold no ill intent towards them. It’s about time that franchise became relevant again. But let’s wait until they are capable of beating a Boston, Miami or even a Chicago team in a seven game series before we start planning the parade or polishing the Larry O’Brien trophy for them.