I thought I should try my best to make a clarification on a disturbing trend that has happened at Madison Square Garden since the Knicks franchise has gone in the tank: standing ovations for opposing players.
Kobe Bryant's 61-point effort earned him a standing O from the Garden faithful last night. Knicks' fans have a great appreciation for basketball, and under certain circumstances breaking the Madison Square Garden all-time scoring record would warrant such a response. However, Knicks fandom should trump any kind of acknowledgement for a special performance like Kobe's 61.
Kobe's standing ovation was completely unacceptable for several reasons:
A) the streaking Knicks had won 8 of 11 and were just one-half game out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.
B) the Knicks have also been playing much better at home of late, and would've gotten a huge boost with a victory over the Lakers.
C) last night's game was arguably the biggest regular season game for the Knicks since February of 2006, and if you want to go back further, to the 2003-04 season.
D) Kobe is annoying and seeing former Knicks fans with his jersey on in attendance makes me throw up in my mouth.
Kobe is embarrassing your team, and you're applauding?!
All of that being said, there are times when a standing ovation for an opposing player IS acceptable:
A) the Knicks are 10 or more games under .500 and out of the playoff race.
B) said player is playing his last game at the Garden and you're really happy that he's never coming back (i.e. Reggie Miller).
C) said player is going to eventually become a Knick, and you're pre-cheering for how awesome he's going to be when he's on your team (i.e. LeBron James).
D) said player prevents David Lee from achieving a double-double (borderline impossible).
E) Isiah is still the coach and you want said player to be kicked in the face and/or groin area.
Just my two cents.