It was a defining moment for the state of the New York Knicks. In the middle of an epic meltdown against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that entered the game with a 2-7 record, the television home of the Knicks, MSG Network, ran a promo for the upcoming game against the Denver Nuggets. Standard practice right? Except, there was something peculiar about this promo.
The voiceover language went something like this, “on Tuesday Carmelo Anthony makes his debut in the Garden…(pause to let that sink in) … against the Knicks… this season. Sorry….I couldn’t resist.”
I was completely dumbfounded by what I just saw and heard. I asked myself, did that actually just happen? I convinced myself that I wasn’t imagining this scenario. The Knicks and their television network were actively teasing their fan base and implying that a player that suits up for another team is going to be a Knick in due time.
This was the moment when the Knicks and MSG gave up on the 2010-11 season and jumped the shark. For those that aren’t familiar with this phrase, Jumping the shark is an idiom used to denote the point in a television program's history where the plot spins off into absurd storylines or unlikely characterizations. These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.
I understand when opposing teams come to town with a star player, the game becomes an event. This one is no different except for the fact that most of the rumors about Anthony’s departure end with him in a Knicks uniform, playing his home games in MSG.
With this promo the Knicks and MSG have effectively given up on the current roster and given their fans permission to follow suit. There is nothing left on this team that is worth promoting but don’t worry we’ll have that second superstar soon. It’s disrespectful to their fans and perhaps even more insulting to the players that are presently trying to come together as a team. Now their television network and the marketing team for the Knicks, is letting them know that they should begin looking over their shoulders.
Well they shouldn’t be surprised if their fans follow their marching orders and stop paying attention until Carmelo’s “inevitable arrival into town.” After all if the players are being betrayed by their own team, then where is the motivation to perform for anyone other than themselves?
It’s one thing for the fans to long for another team’s player. Quite another for their television network to participate and encourage the covetous ones.