It’s a fact of life for all sports fans: At some point, your team will be bad. Some fans’ teams will be worse than others’, and the most unlucky of us all are the fans of teams that have been terrible for our entire lives. Regardless of how much you have been teased and tossed aside by your team, you are expected to stick it out and wait for the bright future ahead—no matter how ludicrous and far-removed it may be.
The New York Knicks have been remarkably terrible for nearly three decades. Unfortunately for me and Knicks fans everywhere, there does not seem to be a bright future in sight.
We are trapped in an eternal cycle of excitement, hope, and eventual soul-crushing disappointment. It has happened over and over again: The 1992 Game 7 loss to Michael Jordan and the Bulls; the fleeting hope of Carmelo Anthony and Linsanity; the Kristaps Porzingis trade; and, most recently, the possibility of signing Kevin Durant and drafting Zion Williamson. Nobody holds on to unfounded optimism like Knicks fans, but every time we fail, we’re slightly more deflated and cynical. Despite all this, there is one thing a true Knicks fan would never entertain: Leaving.
The team’s owner James Dolan represents everything that Knicks fans hate: He appears to have no knowledge of basketball, and his horribly timed hands-on management style have earned him the title of worst owner in sports according to some commentators. His oppressively tepid music, fedora-wearing habits, and increasingly fragile ego have also made him the Darth Vader of basketball.
“Shoutout to the Knicks,” Huang said. “I love the Knicks, they give me these tickets, I get to go eat in the suite, but honestly, I have thought about killing James Dolan. They have very sharp steak knives, and I’m like, ‘Look, for the Knicks […], we might have to do this.’”
Huang was obviously joking, but grizzly steak-knife assasination plots highlight the limited options available to Knicks fans who wish to depose the cruel dictator James Dolan and restore the Knicks to their pre-1970s glory.
After years of suffering, I have realized something: I love to hate the Knicks. The team has not won a championship since 1973, yet remains the most valuable basketball franchise by $300 million. The most memorable moment the Knicks have had in two decades was Linsanity—a two week winning streak, led by Jeremy Lin, in an otherwise forgettable 2011-12 season. New York fans spend so much money on merchandise and tickets that the franchise value rose $170 million in the span of one week. We love to lose our minds over nothing, and I will be there every time, no matter how disappointed I know I will be.
I do not expect my team to ever be good, and I am fine with that. Being the worst team for so long has given Knicks fans a shared experience, something to stand for, and practice in self deprecation. It’s the most prolific culture of ineptitude in sports today. Chanting “Sell the team!” and heckling JD & the Straight Shot—James Dolan’s unremarkable band that screams “We only exist because I inherited my dad’s money”—on the night of the 2017 draft are the only victories we need, as long as we are together, united by our frustrations. I would rather be last and proud, waiting for the number one overall draft pick that will never come, than be stuck as a mediocre potential eighth seed without a shared community.