By Jason Keidel
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You’re finally getting it.
You won’t ever blame your beloved Carmelo Anthony for anything, because he’s had you so spellbound ever since he arrived “home.” He’s got you convinced that his 9-for-25 shooting on Wednesday night was spectacular. He’s even got you convinced he’s a New Yorker despite being raised in Baltimore.
(Michael Jordan was also born in Brooklyn, but you don’t hear anyone calling MJ one of our five-borough brethren.)
But there is a growing, ornery murmur among New Yorkers, and, really, it goes to the source. It’s directed at Jimmy Dolan. People are sick of his moves, his mouth and his product. It only took 20 years, but Knicks fans see the writing I saw in the ’90s, when, for the first and final time, I abandoned a team I once adored.
No one pays to watch owners own. But Dolan doesn’t see that. He’s too visible, too verbose and too inept. He and his band of merry ballers remind you of another New York team swathed in orange and blue.
The Mets. Weak ownership hires weak management, who hire weak managers, who hire poor personnel. Fred Wilpon’s resume speaks for itself. His major acquisition over the last decade was Bernie Madoff. Perhaps he’s relieved to share the baleful blotter with Mr. Dolan, born into daddy’s cable money.
Notice how great franchises attract great people?
Whom does Mickey Arison attract? Pat Riley. Whom does Dolan attract? Isaiah Thomas. Then Dolan, ever the musician, plays musical chairs with his executives, and you see the results.
Miami attracts Riley, who attracts LeBron James, who attracts Ray Allen and Shane Battier. You’ll notice team-first guys will play for pennies to be with James.
Whom does Anthony attract? J.R. Smith and Ron Artest. Notice Phil Jackson never even considered returning to his roots? That’s especially telling when you consider that the Zen Master is a pathological flirt.
But I’ve given up on convincing you that Anthony is the most overrated player in the NBA (with honorable mention to Blake Griffin). In truth, Melo is just a symptom of the sickness.
Dolan, the vortex of a losing franchise, seems to have adopted the Jerry Jones model for running a club. He make tons of money and lives on celebrity, but never celebrates at the end.
The primary problem with the owner being the source of the organizational malady is that he can’t be fired. You love the team and thus you still watch, and you still buy tickets to the World’s Most Overrated Arena. And a bigger problem being born a billionaire is that Dolan doesn’t need a job, never had a job and will hang on to daddy’s remote as long as he wants.
It’s no coincidence that Riley jumped ship, or that James never boarded the ship, or that anytime a major free agent spreads his wings the wind never sweeps him eastward.
If you had a choice between Chicago, with its recent, rich history, or the Lakers, with their bejeweled masthead, or Miami, with the Chosen One running the fast break, why would you even consider New York City?
Marty Schottenheimer once said that the most important person in any organization is the owner because he owns the ball, and you can’t play without the ball. And Dolan is a ball hog.
But hey, he guaranteed Wednesday night’s victory over the mighty Hawks, who are essentially the Knicks’ doppelgänger: an amalgam of gunners who look like world-beaters about once a week.
Here’s another guarantee: The Knicks will never win a title while he owns the team. He’s so bored that he fired a poor woman a few months ago, allegedly, just for daring to ask him for identification. Isn’t that what security guards are supposed to do?
A shame you can’t do the same to Dolan. You’re stuck with him at the helm, for better or worse. A lot worse.
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