With the collective focus of New York City on the Jets this week, and for good reason, the bright lights of Broadway will be taking a break from Rex’s bunch tonight and be shining on one man, Kobe Bryant. The Lakers, coming off of a loss at the hands of the Lebron’s last night, will make their annual trip to Madison Square Garden to play the Knicks. Last season, as all of us Knicks fans can recall, Kobe treated the MSG faithful to an iconic 61-point night at the Garden. Now, you may wonder why I chose the word "treat" to describe what should have been a gut wrenching, yet masterful display of basketball ability at the world’s most famous arena last February. I chose the word because; according to all accounts, the arena treated Kobe like a guest star rather than a villain.
Now, this doesn’t sit well with me. I doubt I speak for all Knickerbocker fans on this, but I’d like to think that most of you die-hards wouldn’t give Bryant a standing ovation as he waves to the crowd, and wouldn’t chant "M-V-P!" as he takes his seat on the bench late in the 4th quarter. Call me a basketball snob, but I’ve always thought the garden crowd could be held in higher esteem than most NBA crowds. Not to take anything away from the amazing fans all over this country, but New Yorkers know basketball and they certainly know good basketball when they see it--which hasn’t been too often these past 10 years. Many of you will use that same statement as justification for the "appreciation" as I’ve heard some people call it, for an all-time NBA great. Well, I guess that would be a fair argument. However, the Knicks still lost the game. You do not, under any circumstances, cheer for the opposing player. Especially after he systematically dismantles your team in front of your eyes. And I don’t know about you, but I was pretty tired of watching Quentin Richardson, Al Harrington, and Wilson Chandler (to name a few) get abused by Mr. Bryant.
So, Knick fans, I am calling you out. If Kobe puts on a great show at the Garden tonight, go ahead and "appreciate" it all you want. But please, please…I’m begging you. Don’t chant his name; don’t cheer "M-V-P!" Just sit back, enjoy it as much as you can, and try to cheer our Knicks to a victory. Just think, with a certain off-season upon us, and a certain player, who just might leave his home state for the Big Apple, you might have a real reason for that chant next season.