Last Saturday night, I went to my first New York Knicks game. Born a Boston sports fan, I grew up loathing the Knicks. I never would have predicted myself ever going to a Knicks game. If you time traveled and told my 10-year old self I would go to a Knicks game when I was 20, I would have laughed in your face. But, after attending this game, I’ve warmed up to them, and can almost accept them as my other home team.
After ascending a handful of escalators at Madison Square Garden, my friend Henry Curtis (he’s the banana in the Fresh Blend promos) and I sat down in section 418, up in another stratosphere to see the New York Knicks take on the young, up and coming Memphis Grizzlies. Even though we were in the nosebleed section, the seats had a good view of the action-packed game that ended in a 109-120 loss for New York.
The Knicks fell to a slow start and were down 14 points early in the first quarter. At this point, I was worried the rest of the game would be another embarrassing sob story in an already doomed season. Instead, the Knicks bounced back despite failing to shut down former teammate Zach Randolph as he scored 21 points and accumulated a staggering career-high 25 rebounds. The man was simply unstoppable. But, thanks to astounding plays like an alley-oop from Eddie House to Wilson Chandler (see video below), and Al Harrington raining down consistent three-pointers the Knicks were able to spark enough momentum to keep the game close. After gaining a small lead late in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies called a timeout that virtually iced the Knicks, and caused them to struggle to make any shots.
Unfortunately, Knicks newcomer Tracy McGrady was practically nonexistent, earning three rebounds and two assists in only 15 minutes of playing time. He was sidelined for the second half due to his reoccurring knee injury. But there was one Tracy that made his appearance known.
When you attend a game at Madison Square Garden you are bound to see some celebrities, and Saturday night was no different. Actor/Comedian Tracy Morgan was in attendance sitting court side. The 30 Rock star was his usual self, being animated throughout the game, and even riling up the crowd in a crucial moment in the fourth quarter. In contrast, sitting next to Morgan was World’s Strongest Man competitor Derek Poundstone (how perfect is that last name). He highlighted his obscenely large biceps during the “Flex Cam” segment. And, of course, I spotted the usual famous Knicks fan, film director Spike Lee. The biggest surprise of the night came at halftime.
Promptly after the buzzer marked the end of the second quarter, several people came onto the court to set up DJ turntables for a special halftime performance. The game was actually ‘Old School Night,’ and who better to perform than rap’s early pioneers, the Sugarhill Gang. They cruised through several of their influential hits like “Rapper’s Delight” and “Apache” at a breakneck speed that made me forget I was even at a basketball game. Unfortunately, the fans were not treated to a winning Knicks delight.
Even though I still love my Celtics, at the end of the night I became a Knicks fan.