Folks, we live in tumultuous times. Capitalism is in late-stage decline and the only viable currency you’ll be able to purchase milk or eggs by the time my kids are in high school might be a personally licensed drawing of Calvin peeing on a Dallas Cowboys logo, kept secure by a server stack in a once vibrant factory in Baltimore that will just employ a single Roomba keeping dust out of the vents, while that factory of labyrinthine server stacks creates enough pollution a year to raise the sea level so high its covering the skating rink in Prospect Park by the time the Knicks use their last Dallas pick.
There’s also a plague continuing to ravage this country, one that has effectively been cured, but due to 400 years of systemic racism, obfuscation, oppression, and state-sanctioned violence against its own people, the credibility of our institutions are completely shot, and there’s a sizable percentage of otherwise reasonable, educated citizens outright refusing to get paid $100 for a shot that could save their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, and you know, other innocent people who want to stay alive.
So, grim times. Hard to find a silver lining in these last days, so my position is, you have to find the smiles where you find them. You might be skimming this on your phone thinking, “Abe, surely COVID, which has claimed nearly a million American lives, which has done critical and lasting damage to our economy, which has caused widespread depression, the severing of families and relationships, which prematurely ended a Knicks season in 2020, there can’t be any joy within a rhetorical country mile of this subject that has ravaged this city and its people, can there?”
Well if you’re a Nets fan, nah, probably not. But, if you happen to support the New York Knicks, and you squint, you may just catch a rose in bloom, a light hitting the gloom on the gray. The vibes are back, arguably at an all time high, if you consider all of time beginning after the nine game win streak last year. Kemba is home, Obi finally looks ready to become the player we drafted. IQ somehow appears to have leveled up, RJ will undoubtedly continue to RJ, we have a crop of low expectation, feel good rookies who can only add to the fun this season, hell, jacked Mitch may even be healthy at some point.
But I’m burying the lede here, because the Knicks, at the moment, are fully vaccinated. And what is joy without a touch of schadenfreude? Because at this same moment, our outer borough “rivals” (a “better” soulless carpetbagging team no one cares about except an obnoxiously vocal and very online minority) are not, as you may have heard. One of their “Big Three,” Kyrie Irving 00 a true free thinker still doing his own research before he settles on the shape of the planet we live on — has yet to receive his jab. This week, the Nets chose violence and said he won’t be joining the team As you’d imagine, this probably came with the consent of his superstar friends and teammates.
So if we can’t credibly feel hopeful about our dark future as a species, we can at least laugh into the abyss of our surprisingly optimistic present as Knick fans. This post may age like an open beer on the radiator, but let’s appreciate this moment of rare superiority. Rather than wax rhapsodic, I’ll simply leave some pull quotes here for your enjoyment, or misery.
Leon Rose (4/5)-
“I really think this step of getting the vaccination is a step for everybody to move forward.”
Obi Toppin, Ossining High School Alum (circa 5/3)-
“What’s goin on guys? Just got vaccinated...The more people that get vaccinated, the faster we can get back to normal times. ”
Mayor Immanuel Quickley (circa 5/3)-
“Just got the shot...Everybody go get vaccinated, stay safe...Y’all go get the shot! Mayor Quickley told you.”
Tom Thibodeau (circa 5/3)-
“You’re not only helping yourself, you’re helping all those people that are around you…We want to be part of the community, we want to enjoy our families and our loved ones, we feel it’s the responsible thing to do...It’s the best line of defense against the virus.”
Scott Perry (9/24)-
“I’m proud to say that our organization — players, coaches and staff — are 100 percent vaccinated. And I think it’s a credit to our players, too, in particular that they took this thing very seriously and took the responsibility to get that done.”
Julius Randle, on the team being fully vaccinated (9/27)-
“Yeah, it’s great. Being available every night is great. And we know we have our guys available, that’s the biggest thing. The fact that we can practice together every day. Regardless, [avoiding getting] injured, whatever it is, they’ll be available to play. So I’m excited about it.”
Kyrie Irving, Nets Media Day (9/27)-
“There’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie and I think I’d love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan,”
“Just in general, you know the one that drives me crazy is, I’m doing my own research. I would like someone to answer this question: What does that look like? You doing your own research. Are you doing studies yourself? Are you in the lab on a nightly basis? What are you doing? I don’t understand what that means, ‘I’m doing my own research’. How about this, we got really smart people. A lot smarter than anybody in the NBA, who’s already done the research.”
Kyrie Irving’s Twitter Account (10/9)-
“I am protected by God and so are my people. We stand together.”
Steve Nash (10/10)-
“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games. We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much…We are just starting to navigate this…A new rule comes in Friday and here we are…We are trying to look at the big picture…The near term, right now, I’m not sure we have as many answers…Who’s to say? The city ordinances could change. Anything could change. “
“Maybe all that stuff presents itself down the line, but I wouldn’t imagine so. This is all stuff we have to figure out...because it’s kind of unprecedented.”
Nerlens Noel, on the Nets (10/12)-
“We try not to pay attention to that. We respect everyone and their bodies and their decisions – or I do. So we really don’t care…We know what our goals are this year. If you are a competitor, you are not really focused on this. You’re focused on what you can do to win the game, period. If that’s one of their weaknesses, we just focus on what we can do when we show up when we play against these opposing teams. So we’re not worried about what they’re going on, that’s for sure.”
Sean Marks, on ruling Kyrie ineligible for team activities until he complies with Covid vaccine mandates (10/12)-
“Kyrie (Irving) has made it clear that he has a choice in this matter…It’s ultimately going to be up to him what he decides. We respect the fact that he has a choice and he can make his own right to choose — Right now what is best for the organization is the path that we’re taking.”
“Multiple sources” with “direct knowledge” of “Irving’s decision”, which is the inevitable first step of Kyrie moonwalking back his position now that he knows the Nets aren’t going to humor this part time player bullshit, which will, *sigh* result in the Nets being much, much better than us, via Shams Charania-
“Irving is not anti-vaccine, his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates. It’s a stance that Irving has explained to close teammates. To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable of making given his current life dynamics. “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,”
Tom Thibodeau, being asked about team and sacrifice, compared to the situation in Brooklyn (10/12)-
“Yeah, well, you know, I have enough to worry about here. So that’s why I just worry about us and I love the group we have. Like from our vets to our young guys, it’s just a great group to be around.”