Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A History Of Washed Up Stars Who Played for The Knicks
The Knicks have officially signed Baron Davis, who will be bringing (along with his ambiguously injured back) some excitement for nostalgic fair weather basketball fans. Everyone loves a big name, and whether or not Baron will be the focused, supremely talented player he was with Golden State and the Hornets, or the overweight malcontent that forced his way out of LA and Cleveland remains to be seen. Logic would lead you to believe that the former would be true, since he's now playing for one of the league's flagship franchises along side some real talent for a change but we won't know for at least a month. However things end up with the player formerly known as B Diddy, one thing is for sure: the Knicks have had tons of washed up former stars suiting up in the orange and blue in recent history. And with the arrival of Baron and possibly gun enthusiast and washed up Agent Zero Gilbert Arenas, there's a chance this list could get much longer in the near future. I've attached their best season stats to prove that they were at one point stars along with the numbers they put up in New York. When reading the Knicks stats, I'd advise you to think of this sound.
Glen Rice Career High PPG: 26.8 2000-01 with NYK: PPG:12.0
Holding the dubious distinction of being the player who Patrick Ewing was traded for may have been the sharp shooting Rice's claim to fame. That is until this summer's revelations that he had carried on an affair with a young Sarah Palin. Glen struggled in New York for a season before being shipped off to never be heard from again. He not only took Patrick's spot on the roster, but apparently his knees as well, creaking up and down the court.
Vin Baker Career High PPG: 21.1 RPG: 10.3 2004-05 with NYK: PPG:7 RPG: 3
Vin is an iffy one to put on this list since he had already fallen off long before he came here, and he played for the Knicks right before booze and laziness derailed his career. By the time he was with the Celtics, he was already getting booed every time he stepped on the court. So when he came to the Knicks he wasn't expected to be a returning local kid done good, or a conquering hero but was just supposed to be a solid enough veteran to grab some boards and provide a bit of an inside presence. He failed on both accounts and is now mostly forgotten.
Penny Hardaway Career High PPG: 21 APG:7 06-07 with NYK: PPG: 6 APG: 2.5
As I've discussed many times on this here blog, Penny Hardaway was a childhood hero of mine as well as the spokesperson for some of the greatest perp shoes ever. He had everything: scoring ability, ridiculous hops, slick passing, a puppet named after him. Of course, when he came to the Knicks he had none of those things. It was as hard to watch him limp around the court shooting stand still jumpers as it was to watch the Knicks get swept off the court by the Nets (ugh) in 04. By the way, that team was led by none other than......
Stephon Marbury: Numbers don't tell the story
We should have saw this coming. Starbury's first game as a Knick was as hyped as any game this side of MJ's 55 pt. return in 95. In front of a national TV audience, the Knicks fell behind by 20 in the first quarter and lost by 30 to Jeff Van Gundy's Rockets. A sign of things to come as there would be much, MUCH more losing as the Marbury era progressed. Bottle's favorite player of all time and son of Coney Island could have been one of the most popular players to ever suit up in the orange and blue. Past homegrown players such as Mark Jackson, Bernard King and Anthony Mason were all popular players with the 'bockers but what should have been a homecoming for Steph, playing in the same building where he won a city championship, so heartwarming that it would have had Lupica jerking off from press row, was instead the ugliest era in Knicks basketball. One that ended with Marbury unable to get off the bench under D'Antoni and is probably best remembered for sexual harassment accusations rather than playoff wins.
Steve Francis: Career High PPG: 21 APG: 7 With NYK: PPG: 10.5 APG: 3
Oh God, Steve Francis. What a colossal fuck up by one of the biggest fuck ups in sports management history. Everyone and their mother (really, my mother was a big Francis fan and she knew he was a bum at this point) could tell you that this was a bad move. But ol' Zeke never met a big name whose legacy he didn't want to ruin.
Dikembe Mutombo: Career High PPG: 16.6 (in his rookie season!) BPG: 4.5 03-04 with NYK: PPG: 5.6 BPG:1.9
You may be noticing a trend in the years listed. 04-07 were especially dark days. Dikembe was never a big time scorer, even in his best seasons with Denver, Atlanta and Philly, but one thing he could always do was block shots and wave his big ol' E.T. finger in the face of his victims (and then later in the direction of the crowd when the league ruled that it was taunting). NO MAN FLY IN THE HOUSE OF MUTOMBO! Unfortunately, the house of Mutombo was more of a split level condo on Bleeker Street by the time he got here.
Antonio McDyess: Career High PPG: 21.2 RPG: 12.1 2003-04 with NYK: PPG: 8.4 RPG: 6.6
The recently retired McDyess is another controversial choice. On the one hand, he was way past his prime and riddled with injuries his entire stay in New York. On the other, he had some very solid years in San Antonio and Detroit as a role player on those elite teams after his tenure in New York. Nevertheless, McDyess's Knick career was so nonexistent (and expectations for him so high after the Knicks traded Marcus Camby for him) that he belongs on this list of big name wash outs. Despite his face up there, he didn't do much laughing and smiling in his Knicks career.
Jalen Rose: Career High PPG: 21.2 APG: 6.2 2005-06 with NYK: PPG: 12.7 APG: 2.6
Yeah, he played for the Knicks too. PTU Keeping it Real Hero and drunk driver Rose was one of the many terrible moves during Isiah's reign of terror. Jalen came into the league as the Point Guard for the Fab 5. A swaggering tall PG in the Magic mold, and was a very solid player for a number of years with Denver and the Pacers team that made the Finals in 2000. Unfortunately, by the time he made it to New York he was yet another faded star to add to the list.
Tracy McGrady: Career High PPG: 32.1 APG; 6.5 2009-10 with NYK: PPG: 9.4 APG:3.9
Most knowledgable basketball fans (as Knicks fans pride themselves on being) were not overly excited at the idea of the hobbling T Mac coming over in a trading deadline move a couple seasons back. Alas, even the most intelligent fan base in professional basketball is no match for nostalgia. Not to mention Knicks fans were starving for anything positive at the Garden like Johnny Bagels is starving for sweet and sour chicken on most weekends. So, Knicks fans got all goofy and cheered McGrady on in his one good game at the Garden after the trade. He broke 20 points and almost led them to a win if not for a Durant game tying 3 in the 4th quarter, but soon after that it was clear that this wasn't the same guy who scored 60 in a game with the Magic, or scored 15 points in 45 seconds or whatever it was with the Rockets, but was just another injured former star winding down his career at the World's most famous arena.
And there's many more crappy players who may have had good years elsewhere but stunk it up for the Knicks through out the years.Here's hoping that Davis (and maybe Arenas) can keep themselves off the next list. Add up those names up there, though, and you have a veritable dream team. That is, when they were in their prime, healthy and dynamic athletes who had no idea they'd one day be relegated to the scrap heap of fallen stars at Madison Square Garden.