“Once a Knick, always a Knick.”
These are the words emblazoned across a picture the New York Knicks chose to post in celebration of Amar’e Stoudemire signing a one-day contract on Tuesday so that he could retire with the franchise he helped revitalize in the summer of 2010. At 33, the man who once posted a picture of himself bathing in red wine decided he had had enough of basketball, or perhaps that basketball had had enough of him.
Few in the history of professional basketball embody the kind of paradox he does. To a certain generation of NBA fans, he represents one very distinct, dynamic kind of player; to another, ever-so-slightly generation, he represents a broken promise, an undoing not entirely or even at all his own, but a bulky set of talcum shoulders on which to rest blame nonetheless.
Thomas B. Shea – USA TODAY Sports
Potential is a fickle mistress. In the right hands, she can grant you the world, mold you into a giant, open doors where once there were merely plastered walls. Precocious potential can just as easily buckle under the conspiratorial weights of onlookers, both the hopeful and the atheistic. It takes more than a little bit of luck to successfully extract talent from potential, with many left wondering whether the pursuit is alchemical in nature. We’ve covered this before, of course, but it’s worth doubling back anyway.
When surveying the biggest stories left to contemplate during the dwindling NBA regular season, one sees quite the smorgasbord of offerings: the Golden State Warriors’ courtship of 73 victories°, Kevin Durant’s impending free agency¹ and a teammate dispute in Los Angeles that somehow pulls the double magic trick of 1) dimming the spotlight on Kobe, and 2) making Iggy Azalea a sympathetic figure. Strange days, indeed.
Do me a favor and not make a team decision before I post this, okay?
I guess The Decision wasn’t fun enough, because LeBron James has the NBA (and pretty much the overall) sports pulse by the throat as he “decides” which team he will sign with. Now, since he is, in fact, a free agent, all of the things that have happened thus far (the alleged agent meetings, the face to face with Pat Riley) are definitely things that he can do.
But who cares about that? He has to go back to Cleveland! He can’t bolt from Miami after being challenged by Riles, can he? I’ve seen a LOT of opinions on what/how/why/when/if this or that will happen. I think I’ve nailed down eight different thoughts on LeBron, and this NBA offseason as a whole.
I will always remember when I saw Ken Griffey Jr. play in Yankee Stadium. To this day, I have never seen a better athlete in person than The Kid. Even at a young age I knew I was watching something special, just by the way he carried himself on the field. Watching him tracking down deep fly balls to make them look routine, whacking a double down the left field line without a hitch in his swing, and playing the game with a true love that made you want to get out there and join him is something that I will never forget. Someday I will say to my kids, “Ken Griffey Jr. was the best athlete I ever saw in person.”
But what will I tell them about LeBron James?