New York Knicks: Jeff Van Gundy on Kevin Durant’s ‘cool’ comment

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Before an NBA broadcast, ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy defended the New York Knicks, in response to Kevin Durant’s comments on the organization not being “cool” right now.

When it comes to head coaches synonymous with the New York Knicks, Jeff Van Gundy stands out the most in the past 25 years. His parts of seven seasons in oversaw six playoff appearances, including the 1999 NBA Finals and the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals. Before resigning in 2001-02, he finished with a 248-172 record.

So Van Gundy knows his Knicks basketball well, having coached some of the top players in franchise history. He saw the players who handled playing New York City well and those who did not during one of the organization’s best areas.

Recently, in an interview with Hot 97, the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant said the Knicks were not “cool” right now, with young players trending towards other teams they familiarize with.

Among the responses drawn, Van Gundy, a long-time ESPN NBA analyst, said playing for the Knicks is not for everyone, but all it takes is that one player to return them to prominence:

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"“I don’t think on-Broadway is for everyone. Not everyone has the same taste. New York is certainly not for everyone, but it’s for special players, and I do believe that all it takes is one great player like a Patrick Ewing or a Steph Curry; the right best player to come to the Knick franchise, and they will once again be cool because there is no place to play like New York City.”"

Van Gundy had that with Ewing in the ’90s; the Hall of Fame center was part of two NBA Finals teams and contributed to the Knicks’ popularity during his 15 years in New York City.

Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony replicated this for a time, but they never had the consistent on-court success that Van Gundy helmed with Ewing, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson and others.

Of course, the Knicks never had Stephen Curry, but they could use someone of his aura, to give them that special presence. Kristaps Porzingis had the chance to become that guy before his departure, and no one, yet, established themselves as that guy, on the 2019-20 roster, either.

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Someone will revitalize New York Knicks basketball. It may not happen this season, in 2020-21 or the year afterward, but players have found their way to Madison Square Garden before. This is not an overnight change, but the team can spend the next few seasons changing their perception before that next star arrives, much like the Nets in lieu of their Durant and Kyrie Irving signings.