For the sake of an already unhealthy New York Knicks culture, some things are better left unsaid. The Knicks continue to learn this the hard way.
Even when the season is suspended, the New York Knicks still find ways to lose. The latest in the long line of disappointing results arrived when a beloved Knicks figure Charles Oakley made his proverbial heel turn by criticizing franchise icon and former teammate Patrick Ewing.
It’s certainly understandable for Knicks fans to dissect Oakley’s comments, but this entire conversation is an example of how some things are better left unsaid—to the media.
Ewing and Oakley were two of the defining figures of a decade that yielded New York’s best results since the 1970s. The team was relatable, with a blue-collar approach to winning basketball that the working-class citizens of New York City inevitably admired.
Unfortunately, Oakley recently told The DA Show that Ewing was a high-maintenance player who was difficult to work with.
“Even though I said he’s high-maintenance, people might take that wrong – he was a high-maintenance player. Everybody in the world knows he was. You got to be special to play with Patrick. You had to do so much out of your ordinary just to be on the team, and that hurt us sometimes. As a team, we’re supposed to be close and together. It wasn’t that. We had to make sure he was happy. He didn’t care if we was happy or not. That’s a sad situation, and I see why the Knicks won’t give him a job. He treated them bad—inside out. Chris [Childs] will tell you. He was tough to play with, but he wasn’t no problem to me because I understand. Mase [Anthony Mason] had a problem with it because Mase always hollered and cussed at him.”
Even if that’s true, one can’t help but feel as though this is the last thing that Knicks fans need to hear. Then Oakley only doubled down on his comments about Ewing in a recent article published by the New York Post.
New York has made a grand total of four postseason appearances since Ewing was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000. After making two NBA Finals and four Conference Finals appearances with Ewing, the Knicks have yet to make it past the second round without him.
In fact: New York has won just one total playoff series since Ewing left, and unceremoniously lost to the Indiana Pacers, of all teams, in Round 2 during the lone exception year.
In other words: The last thing that Knicks fans need to hear is negative statements about the only player who made the team consistently relevant since Bernard King‘s gruesome injury in 1985.
Even Carmelo Anthony could only get two first-round exits and a second-round exile out of the Knicks.
In addition to the team lacking consistent success, it’s also failed to build around a number of promising players. Veterans with accolades such as Anthony, Jamal Crawford, Stephon Marbury, and Zach Randolph never seemed to reach their full potential in New York.
And yes, I’m including draft rights in that statement—as one should.
To make matters worse, Oakley himself was mistreated by a Knicks organization that has a strange relationship with almost all of its key figures. Something similar occurred with Spike Lee earlier in 2019-20, which added yet another new act to the never-ending circus.
In short: Being a Knicks fan is torture both on and off the court.
To now hear a beloved Knicks figure speaking negatively about, perhaps, the most popular player in franchise history is the final straw. New York has a young core with potential All-Stars, as well as multiple future draft picks and significant short-term and long-term cap space.
And yet, the discussion about the Knicks continues to have nothing to do with the reasons for hope, optimism, or any other positive feeling.
Maybe one day the New York Knicks will change the narrative and no longer be known as the organization that’s marred in controversy.
Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery.