This is an open letter, from a die-hard Knicks fan, to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver outlining all the reasons why the league needs to do the right thing and make sure the Knicks land Duke superstar Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick in June's draft.
My bad, Mr. Silver? It’s Mr. Silver, right. I’m sorry, sir. I hope this letter finds you in good spirits, because I have a friend who hasn’t been well. You see, for nearly two-thirds of his 30 years, he’s only known misery. He used to be so full of life and vigor, but he’s always had his hopes dashed and destroyed. Disappointment, heartbreak, sadness, hypertension, you name it, he’s felt it. And it’s through no fault of his own, it’s because of a third party who has done everything to destroy that person’s spirit. It’s sad to see, and I’m tired of seeing it. That’s because that sick, sad, person…is me, Mr. Silver. And I am a lifelong suffering Knicks fan. Sadly, millions of others out there are just like me and suffering in silence. But you can fix this by doing one simple thing, Adam.
Make sure the New York Knicks get the No. 1 pick and draft Zion Williamson.
Freeze the envelope, add an extra ping-pong ball or two, pull a “Moonlight” and announce the wrong name, lock Mitchell Robinson in a boiler room whenever he starts cooking. Do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. There are rare moments in time where desperation and destiny meet. Some people like to call it fate, some people like to call it a miracle, or a frozen envelope. But to me, and millions like me, desperation and destiny is a 6’7”, 280-pound mound of “what the fuck” from South Carolina. And New York deserves him. When the most hapless franchise in your league also happens to be your most valuable, you’ve got to throw them a bone at least once.
The team that plays in the middle of the world in a city that has been basketball crazy since before anybody reading this ever existed have been a big blue and orange pile of garbage, and we deserve Zion.
Sure, Knicks fans will pretend that losing 18 straight home games is all a part of the plan. We’ll even play along when you tell us it was a good idea to trade a 7’3” All-Star still on his rookie contract. Second worst record in the NBA? We’ll embrace the tank and be all smiles as long as you tell us it’ll all work out. Because deep down, every single Knicks fan is dying. In fact, every single NBA fan is dying. I can picture your face—you think I’m being dramatic, right? Typical Knicks fan delusion is what you’re getting at I presume? Well that same ridiculous delusion that Knicks fans have conditioned themselves to feel after every single All-Star break—that finally this year they’ll land the No. 1 pick—is the same delusion every single NBA team faces once the playoffs start knowing the Larry O’Brien Trophy is the Warriors to lose. It’s nice to delude yourself, but let’s be real: It ain’t happening. The marathon of a season will convince you that your Bucks, Rockets, Nuggets, Sixers, or Thunder are going to rise from the ashes and relieve the Warriors of their position as the greatest show on court. It won’t happen. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny remains the same.
Knicks fans, however? We’re used to the projects. This is the same franchise that traded away Patrick Ewing, put all of our eggs into a Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis backcourt. The Knicks backed up a Brinks truck for Jerome James, Eddy Curry and a broken down Antonio McDyess. We’ve also had the shit luck of coming one spot away of drafting Steph Curry. The Knicks aren’t just the victim of poor front office moves, the Knicks have shit luck, too. If you think it’s ludicrous that Knicks fans have reasons to feel that their franchise will ever be relevant again, I get it. I think it’s ridiculous that fans of teams like the Nuggets, Rockets, Raptors, Bucks, and others believe they have a shot in winning an NBA title as long as the Golden State Warriors are together. Zion to New York is the perfect domino that won’t only just make the city relevant again, not only make the league’s most valuable franchise that much more valuable, and get the NBA closer to its ultimate goal of making basketball the true world game. It will also help lure Kevin Durant away from the Warriors and make the playoffs interesting again. A true utopian era of parity in the world’s most fun league.
Could you sell me on Zion’s teammate, R.J. Barrett? Absolutely. The kid has an NBA pedigree with a floor that is Khris Middleton and his ceiling is Kobe Bryant. Could I get jiggy with Murray State point guard Ja Morant to give the Knicks the bounciest backcourt in the league alongside Dennis Smith Jr.? I’m sure SportsCenter and House of Highlights would enjoy that. But the World’s Most Famous Arena needs, and fucking deserves, that freak of nature. Zion’s been compared to another teenage phenom, LeBron James, and while I won’t go that far, he’s definitely the first prospect since James that’s made the entire basketball world collectively say, “What the hell is that and in what lab did they make him?” Zion needs New York as much as the NBA needs Zion in New York.
The NBA is enjoying record setting interest and revenues and the league couldn’t be doing any better. But as soon as the the playoffs start, all of the damn drama is sucked out of the league, because we all know the Golden State Avengers are going to win the damn thing all over again. Let’s not kid ourselves. However, Mr. Silver, I have a plan. I have my own sixth-infinity-stone-collecting maneuver that will not only preserve the lifeblood of your league, but make the NBA more popular than ever with the snap of your fingers.
Need some proof, Mr. Silver? Bet. What was your biggest scandal last year? Don’t remember? Pepperidge Farm remembers. It was those fancy new Nike-sponsored NBA jerseys ripping every other game. It was a big deal last season, but guess what? Nobody gives a fuck anymore. That’s a healthy league if I’ve ever seen it. You know what happened when Zion Williamson tore through his PG 2.5s against North Carolina on ESPN last week? It was front page news. Lead story on SportsCenter! Nike’s stock even took a hit. You think a city like Phoenix could handle all that heat? You think Cleveland deserves another generational talent? After pissing away 12 seasons of LeBron James and getting one measly title? After trading away Kyrie Irving when all the Cleveland front office had to do was get him and LeBron to sing kumbaya together? After drafting Anthony fucking Bennett? Oh, hell no. The team that plays in the middle of the world in a city that has been basketball crazy since before anybody reading this ever existed have been a big blue and orange pile of garbage, and we deserve Zion. The sun shines on a dog’s ass at least twice a day, so when is it going to be our time?
The Knicks have had a grand total of two highlight seasons: One led by Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd, and those three weeks that Jeremy Lin was the shit. Still, Forbes values the franchise at a mind-numbing $4 billion. Despite two decades of hilariously terrible ineptitude, this franchise has hyper-sucked itself into becoming he most valuable franchise In the league, so a relevant New York Knicks don’t just help me, they help your league. They help your fans. Hell, it helps your bottom line. You’re tired of the NFL being America’s game? Fine. The NFL could have America, this country has had a couple down years anyway. Sell high and make the NBA and basketball the World’s Game. If the New York Knicks could somehow become even more valuable, that helps the NBA as a whole and gets soccer TF outta here. Shit, I’ve lived to see the NBA veto a Chris Paul trade to the Lakers for “basketball reasons” and the Knicks. Get Zion to the Knicks and call it “ownership reasons.” We wouldn’t give a fuck. That sort of talent deserves better than to be wasting away on Pacific Standard Time in Phoenix and nobody caring or knowing what’s going on there. Steve Nash damn-near reinvented basketball in that city, and we still give his two MVPs the side-eye. You think a city like that deserves Zion? FOH. ZION TO New York is the huge domino that drops and becomes the precursor to signing Kyrie Irving from the Celtics and restoring their glorious chemistry that almost took them to the NBA Finals last year. Follow that up by signing Kevin Durant from the Warriors that makes that Finals-ruining super team beatable again and balancing out the league like it should. Give your most valuable franchise a few superstars, balance out the competition in the NBA universe. Perfectly balanced, like all things should be (word to Thanos). Fulfill your destiny, Mr. Silver. America has forgiven bigger scams over the past few years (I’m looking at you, Mr. President). So to make a painfully long story short, help me...help you, my rigger.
I’ll be waiting with a magnetic ping pong ball or a frozen envelope, whatever floats your boat.
Kazeem “a sad and tired Knicks fan” Famuyide