The conventional wisdom was that it would be years before the Knicks would once again become one of the NBA’s elite teams after they went all in trying to sign free agent LeBron James, who appeared to take fiendish delight in rejecting the millions of dollars Knicks CEO James Dolan was offering him. When the Knicks got Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton, the consensus was that the former was at best a face-saving consolation prize while the latter generated yawns at best.
While James and his friends in Miami have struggled more than anyone expected so far, the Knicks have been exciting to watch thanks primarily to Stoudemire’s scoring prowess and the terrific job done at point guard by Felton, who not only has distributed the ball well to his teammates but has shown that he can hit long-range jump shots as well.
Raymond has also quickly gotten involved in community affairs. Last Wednesday, he, along with teammate Roger Mason Jr. and Rangers alumni Rod Gilbert and Adam Graves, came to Queens to take part in a holiday party at JFK Airport sponsored by Delta Airlines. Delta’s guests were children receiving care at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Medical Center at Long Island Jewish Hospital. Felton thought nothing of giving up time on a rare day off. “I love helping kids. This is a great event,” he said with a wide smile.
Cardozo High School alum and Mets and Islanders voice Howie Rose got into a bit of hot water by making some disparaging remarks about the Isles when he erroneously thought his microphone was off during a telecast. Rose quickly issued a mea culpa and blamed his remarks on the frustrations that he, along with the fans, were feeling in the midst of the team’s 14-game losing streak.
Howie handled the situation well, and the truth is that his criticisms were warranted, particularly after last Friday’s soporific 2-0 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It took the Isles half of the first period to get their first shot on goal, and they were only able to tally an anemic 17 shots at Rangers goaltender Henryk Lundqvist the entire evening. Henryk could have enjoyed a steak dinner in front of his net. He even admitted to reporters that it was hard for him to stay focused because he did not have much to do.
New Islanders coach Jack Capuano told the media after the game that he will bench players and shake up who takes part in power plays as a way of sparking his team. Jack, I hate to tell you this, but that’s the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Who’s on the cover is key for celebrity magazines like People, US, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and OK! The same can be said for the battle between Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine. SI’s annual Sportsman of the Year issue is its second biggest seller behind the swimsuit issue. Last week SI named Drew Brees as the winner. ESPN countered by putting Tiger Woods on its cover, giving the impression that he had opened up about his personal life. In fact he just talked about his love for golf. Very ho-hum.