I grew up in one of the best eras of basketball — the 90s. Nothing was more exciting than coming home from church on Sunday afternoon and watching the NBA on NBC. And, come June, almost knowing MJ and the Jordanaires would contend for yet another title. Some of those great battles were between the Bulls and the Knicks. Jordan vs. Starks, Pippen vs. Oakley, Ewing vs. Cartwright.
Take away Mike and the Knicks probably would have one at least one championship in the 90s. But like the Jazz, Suns amd others, the Bulls were always there, standing in the way.
So even though I wasn’t a fan, the I respected the relevance on the Knicks and what they brought to the league. So, the last couple of years, it’s pained me to watch the team I grew up loving to hate, run in the ground by Isiah Thomas and the Knick management.
Since the “Ewing era” the Knicks have been on a free fall and, since Isiah took over, the pace has been accelerated. Despite having one of the highest payroll in the league haven’t made the playoffs in seven years.
The blame has falling directly on Thomas, and rightfully so. From assembling a team full of 2-guards to his inept coaching skills, Thomas, unfortunately is the face of the Knicks’ downfall.
Because it’s one of th NBA’s signature franchises and because it’s New York, this situation has been magnified. But a similar situation is going on in Indiana and is slipping under the radar. Hall of Famer Larry Bird is the president of the Indiana Pacers and, like Thomas, has overseen his team fade into obscurity and become one of the laughing stocks of the league. But, unless you live in the Midwest, you probably don’t pay attention or don’t care.
Since the infamous brawl a few years back with the Pistons and coupled the with the retirement of the face of the franchise in Reggie Miller, the Pacers have struggled on the court. Off the court, former Pacer Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson and current players Jamal Tinsley have found themselves in off-the-court issues that have embarrassed themselves and the organization. But another is going to pass with no playoff appearance for the Pacers. And really, nobody’s going to care.
So while Isiah gets hammered in the media, where’s the uproar about Larry?