Tag Archives: Riley

The NBA Logo Ranking Project:
#13 – New York Knicks

I love the Knicks. I hate their current logo.

I have always hated their current logo. It is an ugly triangle with absolutely no whimsy. It is the least fun thing I have ever seen. It is an imitation art-deco clusterfuck of a logo with harsh lines, jagged edges and unnecessary complexity. The current Knicks logo was actually the perfect logo for the disjointed teams put forth by Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas, but that’s not exactly a good thing.

The Knicks logo has actually had two major revisions. It was once a fun but confusing drawing of a Knickerbocker, which is both a descriptor of the Dutch settlers who discovered New York and the type of pants that they wore. Is that silly? Of course it is. Not silly enough to change when you consider that there aren’t many lakes in Los Angeles, but the team did change it in 1963. Oh well . . .

The next revision of the Knick logo was the charming “parachute” design for the 1964-65 season. It was an extreme change from the previous logo and color scheme, which I always have problems with, but you can’t deny that it is a quality logo. The parachute gets more love because it is associated with the greatest success in the team’s history. Why did they decide to change this logo in the summer after Pat Riley’s team almost beat a far superior Bulls team in 1992? I suspect that the change was in the works well before that fun ’92 playoff run as a sort of karma-shift from the depressing Stu Jackson/John McLeod teams, but the plan probably should have been abandoned after Pat Riley proved that the only real way to change the culture of a team is to run it well. Oh well . . .

Please allow me to digress for a moment into my family history so that I can explain to you what I expect from a sports team logo. Once you understand my point of view, I hope that you will hate the current Knick logo as I do.

My grandpa, who died when I was eight years old, played semipro baseball and basketball in the 1930s for a team called the Astoria Arrows. He was one of my favorite people of all time (as a grandfather should be) and, as such, I would be clad head-to-toe right now in Astoria Arrows merchandise if I could find it anywhere. People would ask me what that archery-themed logo was on my hat and then I’d tell them about Al “Big Maxy” Drews, how I have a scrapbook at home of clips mentioning him in Queens newspapers, including one with the headline “Drews Sinks One” that mentions his timely “slam shot” as the highlight of game in which the winning team scored something like 20 points. The person who asked me about that logo might not care about the lengthy answer that I would give them, but the joy of talking about my grandpa one more time would make any money that I spent on Arrows paraphernalia a very worthy investment. Unless, of course, they happened to have changed the logo . . .

If the Astoria Arrows logo was changed in 1963, and again in 1992, then it would be a tad difficult to muster much emotion when I placed their cap upon my head:

“Hey, Ken, what’s that mysterious logo on your hat?” a passerby would ask.
“Well, friend, it’s actually a semipro team that my grandfather played for in the 1930s,” I would answer.
“Cool,” the passerby would say.
“Only they wore different colors,” I would add.
“And the arrow faced the other direction.”
“And the font for the team name was different.”
“That’s great, Ken. I’m going to go now.”

Sounds like a fun exchange, huh?

It is just laundry, folks. It is a tired and trite axiom at this point, but all we root for is the laundry on the players’ backs. A sport is ephemeral and the men wearing the laundry change. We root for that laundry because it connects our past to our future. I want Charles Oakley to have a connection to Dave Debusschere. I want the team that my grandpa watched on WWOR back in the day (for free!) to have a connection to the career of Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler. I want any connection to my grandpa that I can get. The players change, but leave the laundry the same.

So go ahead and rank the Knicks logo low, Jared. It sucks for one of the oldest teams in the sport, playing in its most famous arena in its biggest market, to have a middling ranking…but it’s a freaking triangle. Give the Knick logo the C-minus that it deserves. How could you rank it higher? It was created in 1992 and was five years out of date even back then. It’s not the logo of the 1970 team (one of the sport’s most memorable title winners) or the logo Willis Reed had on his warm-ups when he limped out of the tunnel in 1970. The triangle isn’t the logo of the team that suited up Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton as the NBA’s first black player in 1950.

Who needs a logo with a connection to the “Knickerbocker” era of Sweetwater, Dick McGuire and Harry Galatin? Who needs a connection to Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier, Dave Debusschere, Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley, Black Jesus and the other men who wore the “parachute”? Who needs a logo with a glorious past when you have one that was on the towel Charles Smith used to hide his face in shame after getting four point-blank shots blocked by smaller players in the 1993 conference finals?

Oh well . . .

Kenneth Paul Drews co-hosts the FreeDarko Presents: The Disciples of Clyde Podcast along with the ever-loquacious, never-salacious Dan Filowitz. Ken also writes about the NBA on the DOC website and can often be found having recurring nightmares about Isiah Thomas.

knicks logo

Fun Fact: If you type “comical failure” into Google, it asks Did you mean: Charles Smith

Well Said, Al Cash

As a Pacers fan, I really hate to say anything even remotely complimentary about the New York Knicks. (Side note: John Starks sucks.)

Still, it’s impossible to not recognize how good the MSG Network is. It shows a lot of classic Knicks stuff, which is great because Clyde Frazier is the flyest known human and each time they talk about Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, it draws us one step closer to the day we all collectively stop erroneously referring to it as “The Willis Reed Game” and start rightfully calling it “The Clyde Frazier Game.” (Walt dropped 36 points, 19 assists and 5 steals on 12-17 shooting from the field and 12-12 from the line.)

Additionally, the network often shows great non-Knicks performances very often as well. Currently, for instance, the channel is showing a program called “Returns to MSG,” which is featuring things like MJ’s “Double Nickel” game where he dropped 55 on the Knicks in his first trip to the Garden after failing to succeed in minor league baseball and Bernard King’s first game playing in New York after signing the Washington Bullets. It also includes MSG returns of guys like Clyde (who was dealt to the Cavs), Patrick Ewing (who played pretty well for Seattle), Mark Jackson (who dropped 18 and 8 and did some shimmying with the Clips), Pat Riley (who was nearly lynched for bolting to Miami), Charles Oakley (who is a guy so dope even a Pacers fan has to love) and Jeff Van Gundy (who was so gutter ghetto girls fell in love with him). Epic stuff. (0n a related-but-not-related note, this morning someone shared this YouTube link with me from when AI returns to Philly.)

In other news, the MSG Network often airs some good street ball stuff from Rucker Park, which is rare to see on television ever since ESPN’s “Streetball” show overexposed and trivialized the And 1 Mixtape phenomenon even quicker than it ruined Texas Hold ‘Em. And it just so happens that right before the “Returns to MSG” show, they were showing the “EBC at Rucker” show. Basically, it is what it says it is: a show of highlights from current and past Entertainer’s Basketball Classic tournament action from Harlem’s legendary Rucker Park.

This episode concluded with one of the greatest moments in Rucker History. It was 2003 and David Stern showed up — and brought his friend President Bill Clinton with him. The two luminaries sat there in attendance watching the action and seemed at home even though they both stood out for their overwhelming whiteness and all-eyez-on-me fame. In an interview conducted some time later, EBC announcer Al Cash aptly reflected upon what having these two men in the stands meant for NYC basketball: “It was a good look for Harlem.”

Better still was the fact that rapper Fat Joe’s “Terror Squad” team was playing that day and one of the other announcers had the foresight to borrow Joey Crack’s gaudy “TS” chain and put it around Stern’s neck.

And even better than that is the fact that there’s a photo of said incident.

stern terror squad

Best Blogger Alive: Vol. VI

Guess what, Both Teamsters? You’re getting a Weezy double-feature as well. I know, I know…it’s like Channukah came early. But please, you can keep your po-tay-to pancakes.

With no more ado, here’s the NBA highlights of Dwayne Michael Carter Jr’s Thanksgiving Day post:

LeBron James might as well go out with a Knicks jersey on at this point. What’s happening is so unfair to the Cleveland fans. All they hear about is LeBron and the Knicks. It seems like a rough, rough time to be a Cleveland fan right now. LeBron’s got a tough decision. If I was the man LeBron is, I’d go ahead and make that move. LeBron is bigger than life, and Cleveland can’t hold him.

Valid points.

But much more important than that is the fact that Pat Riley not only knows who Lil Wayne is, but he is familiar with his touring schedule.

I went to the Heat game on Monday night to check out my man DJ Augustin, who is from New Orleans. Dwyane Wade was amazing and I also met Pat Riley. I was sitting courtside and he came walking by and wished me luck playing at the arena on Sunday, so that was cool. He was just passing by and I was watching the game so we didn’t get to talk much, but I appreciated that. It’s always cool to meet players and coaches you watched when you were growing up, and I get nervous sometimes. It’s a lot different than meeting guys you watch as an adult.

But Armani wearing, slickback Hall of Fame coaches aren’t the only NBA legends Weezy gets to meet on a regular basis. Oh no. He’s also kicking it with Bad Boys enforcers and WBNA ladies that I’ve never heard of.

Last year on my tour I met Rick Mahorn and Bill Lambeer [sic] ’cause we were staying in the same hotel. They were there with their WNBA team the Detroit Shock and they were funny. That was right around the time they had just acquired Ivory Latta, and she came in to the lobby and saw me and started screaming, “Oh, s—t! I love you!” She was screaming, man. I told her I loved her game and to keep doing her thing.

Coincidentally, that’s the exact same advice I gave Birdman Jr when he asked me for blogging advice.