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Leon Rose speaks

IT’S ALIVE!

Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Perhaps inspired by the original Easter story, Knicks president Leon Rose rose from the dead recently with his first words on the team in eight months. Rose affirmed his faith in Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle in a chat with Mike Breen on Pravda, then on Maundy Thursday he emailed season ticket-holders.

In the past, such abhorrent administrative aloofness aggrieved. The New York Knicks aren’t just a business; they’re a public trust. In a world where people are justifiably cynical of and weary of institutions, this team brings people together in a way politics never could and never will. Honor that. Every other franchise in sports thinks it’s worthwhile keeping some kind of conversation going with its followers; what makes the Knicks so special? But I’m trying something new.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying this is a non-story, that it doesn’t matter whether Rose speaks on the team or doesn’t. After all, what’s he gonna say? Tell us the team’s top-five targets in the draft and free agency? Execs aren’t trying to be Knute Rockne. They sprinkle a little flavorless spin about “process” and “assets” and not much else. Who cares if they talk?

I do. As a professor, I have a soft spot for the students who don’t exist for half the semester, then one day they’re there, and involved, and contributing. In the spirit of those kids, I offer a rhetorical analysis of Rose’s email. Anyone who talks this little must attach extra value to the few words they employ. Rose’s writing is in italics; the bullet points are the analysis.

To the best fans in the world,

* Baby, I know I done wrong.

As we enter an offseason that will provide opportunities to build on the team’s momentum down the stretch, I want to say thank you for your unrelenting commitment to our franchise as a Knicks Season Ticket Member.

* We all saw how good Obi and Quickley looked. We’re not stupid. They’re getting minutes next year if we have to trade every center and guard on the roster to force Thibs’ hand.

Off the hardwood, navigating the pandemic over the last two years has been a challenging time for all, New Yorkers especially, and I want to thank you for sticking with us. You are a most valuable member of our Knicks family, and we appreciate your loyalty, support, and passion.

* You will never, ever see a dime of material benefit for your years of unrequited loyalty.

The 2021-22 season did not end the way we would have liked, but it will serve as an integral learning experience for our team.

* One learning experience was learning if Sam Presti and Brad Stevens are done with a player, they pro’ly know something.

When I arrived at this organization just over two years ago, I shared with you my commitment to building a winning, hardworking group, worthy of your support, while emphasizing player and team development. These commitments remain true to this day, and I am particularly proud of the growth, improvement, and fight of our young core this season. We currently have nine players 24 years of age or younger and eight players who are still on their first contracts.

* For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

We recognize this team-build will be a steady climb, but there are real examples of progress and success, especially from our young core, that we can acknowledge and celebrate.

*

In our ongoing commitment to deliver winning basketball and culture to you and the city of New York, we will continue to strategically utilize the valuable assets we have at our disposal.

* As opposed to utilizing them in a non-strategic manner. That sounds like a joke, but you were here through the Layden/Isiah years. You know what I’m talking about.

We possess 13 draft picks in the next three years (four in the first round and nine in the second), providing us with a variety of ways to improve our team and complement our young core.

* Please take my picks for your star.

We have worked hard to maintain financial flexibility, which is a key factor to developing success in this league, and we are backed by tremendous support and resources from ownership. These are all vital ingredients needed to manufacture a winning team.

* Please take our expiring contracts for your star.

Our coaching staff is at the heart of our young core’s development and confidence to compete at the highest level, as well as our vets’ ability to produce in their roles. We have seen multiple players take leaps over the last two seasons under Coach Thibodeau’s tutelage and commitment to playing the right way.

* You people can-NOT get over yourselves bitching about Thibs like he won this job in a raffle or some shit. First you complain he won’t play the kids; then he plays ‘em, but not enough. Then the kids are showing out at the end of the season. Thibs isn’t the only member of the coaching staff, you know. We get any credit for our young players ending the year on such a high? Or do we only exist when you need a scapegoat?

We plan to build a winning culture thoughtfully and we have the means to do so through the players and assets I outlined above. The future of New York Knicks Basketball will be exciting, and I will continue to work relentlessly to make this team one you can be proud of.

* Dolan will fire my ass before 2025.

I look forward to seeing you back at The Garden next season.

Leon Rose President, New York Knicks

* Four words in my job title start with capital letters. I think I know what I’m doing. You don’t need to hear from me. Just lemme do my job.