This past season ended in an extremely disappointing manner. That's a fact that obscures just how great this season was and just how far we've come. So, despite how it ended, I am ridiculously grateful to this Knicks team. Every single member (even Solomon Jones).
We fell well short of our goal this year and now we're looking forward to next year wondering if it's possible we'll ever have what it takes to win it all. But this may have been my single favorite season to be a Knicks fan. Basketball has never given me so much joy. Even through the incredible depth of pain and frustration this was the best Knicks season in a long ass time.
It seemed after every single game there was some new triumph that was the first time we accomplished something since '99 or '94' or '84 or even '73. And I'm not even talking about stats of a bluecheesian obscurity/awesomeness. Simple things, like having a guy get 20 rebounds in a game.
Let me share a little bit of my own Knicks history: As a kid I worshiped the Knicks. I used to watch games on my parents bed and if the Knicks played poorly, I'd start rolling off the bed and thinking, "You wouldn't want to cause a little kid to fall off the bed, would you Knicks?" and with every poor possession, slip further off the bed and every positive one back on the bed. I used to carry around a stuffed Patrick Ewing with me. Hell, I wanted to be Patrick Ewing when I grew up (my parents had to explain to me that I wasn't going to be that tall, I wasn't black, I sucked at basketball, and that Patrick Ewing was an entirely separate human being that you couldn't just be). I was at the Reggie game and the 4-point play ... and the JVG leg hugging game. My Bar Mitzvah theme was the NBA
Then came the dark ages. I still loved the Knicks. I still went to the occasional game. But I also started to drift away from basketball. I had started to hate my own team and I was a moody teenager getting into music and movies and then I was in college and a budding alcoholic. I didn't have the time or energy to care like I had.
Then Amar'e put on that hat and said "The Knicks Are Back" and even though I wanted the Knicks to get anyone, but him that summer I was hooked again. I was back in. And that Celtics game where Amar'e hit the 3-pointer in the final seconds that ultimately didn't count had me running around my apartment like a maniac and reminded me why I love basketball. It didn't matter that we lost, I was all in again.
I explain this to illuminate that even though we are in the wake of LeBron getting his second ring, a disappoint end for the Knicks, and uncertainty heading into next year, we have so very much to be grateful for. And hey, we're Knicks fans, we're used to disappointing endings. It's just nice to be able to enjoy the ride there and this year in particular was an utterly insane, hilarious, ecstatic, mind-boggling, heart-wrenching, life affirming ride.
Plus we're not a punchline anymore. We matter and the league has to take us seriously. It was so hard to see the franchise I loved so much run so hard into the ground that we became a bigger joke than the Clippers. Just mentioned the Knicks throughout the 2000s would result in giggles among rival fans. Even after Amar'e came, the rest of the league made its jokes. Even this past offseason, the old jokes, the jokes about a 5th seed and first round exit, the jokes about being surpassed by Brooklyn - we hadn't earned anyone's respect yet.
Because of this year, we have finally erased the disgrace of the dark times.
So I am so grateful for the joy this season has given me.
I'm even grateful for the pain and frustration because it means this season meant something.
I'm grateful for Melo
I'm grateful for JR and his lovely pipe collection
I'm grateful for Pablocura and his sneaks
I'm grateful for Shump, oh god and I grateful for Shump (<3 you, Shump)
I'm grateful for Penguins and their sturdy, bulldog-like demeanor. Quack!
I'm grateful for K Mart and I never thought I'd say that
I'm grateful for Kidd and his helmet and for his retiring so we can root against him again
I'm grateful for Tyson and his passion
I'm grateful for Woodson and his beard (and his fashion sense)
I'm grateful for Copeland and his amazing story
I'm grateful for Shump
I'm grateful for Earl Barron
I'm grateful for Q trolling the Celtics
I'm grateful for KT and his old man toughness (especially in the the Kurt Thomas Game)
I'm grateful for Sheed and ... well, everything he's ever done as a human
I'm grateful for three to the head
Have I meantioned just how grateful I am for Shump? Seriously, Shump.
I'm grateful we didn't trade Shump.
But mostly, I'm grateful for P&T, Seth, Joe, and all of you for giving me a home to revel in my love for this crazy, ridiculous, absurd, and infinitely silly team. There is no place like P&T. There is so much out there that's trying to make sports less fun and this place makes it more fun and made this ride all the better.
Thank you, bluecheese, you may deny it but you are a wizard and I am building a small shrine to you for small sacrifices just in caseyou land somewhere on the god-demigod spectrum.
Thank you, Bronxchica for your impressive post-game gif game
Thank you gymtanlandry (G-dub!), fuhry, CARMP, GAx, Rorschach, Crackback, Stingy, and everyone else here who I can't think of off the top of my head. It was a helluva season we went through together and I look forward to going through the next one with you as well.