Love and Basketball
Last Friday night my girl and I went to see the Knicks play the Nets at the Garden. Ever since the Nuggets spanked that Knickerflopper booty last month, the Knicks have actually been playing ball like they want to win; like they want to make the playoffs, like they want some respect. Even though they lost, the game was aight. It wasn't a blowout and so we didn't have to breakout in the 3rd quarter like we did last time we went to a game. And besides they lost to our favorite team. Tish loves Jason Kidd and well Vince Carter can do no wrong in my hoop book.
Every time I go to a Knicks game I'm reminded of three past moments. I think of the time when I worked for the late, great LeBaron Taylor, former Sr. VP at Sony/ CBS Records who was just one of a handful of Black men that really laid the foundation and groundwork for Black Music departments in this music biz mess of an industry. He always said I was an okay assistant but that I was a brilliant mover and shaker and so he would always give me his tix to different events and charity dinners which was so unbelievably thoughtful (I can't tell you how much I learned and how in his own subtle way LeBaron was grooming me for bigger and better things and for that, I am eternally grateful!). Anyway as often as I got tix for events, it was truly once in a blue moon when I would ever get his tix for the Knicks. You see LeBaron loved himself some basketball and would very rarely miss a game that he had tickets for. But I'll never forget the first time he gave me his tickets. I called my basketball bud at the time, Erika, to meet me. Even though it was the last minute she was there and how fricking blown away were we to find out that our seats were on the floor!. Yo, we were seating 3 seats over from Spike. It was UNBELIEVABLE! And hear me when I tell you there is NOTHING like having seats on the floor for a basketball game at The Garden. It's like flying first class. Sweet! I just remember sitting there and Larry "Grandma-ma" Johnson, while waiting for the inbound pass, looking over at us and winking, then waving at us (as if we didn't see his big behind flirting with us). We were like umm you need to be watching the ball. Needless to say the Knicks blew their 17-point lead and ended up losing the game. It was still the best pro-basketball game I ever attended.
Every time I see the Knicks, especially in their recent 6-year slump, I am reminded of the night I can last remember seeing the Knicks in their prime-- when I was a proud fan of the blue and orange. It was 1994 and the Knicks were playing the Houston Rockets for the NBA championship. They were smashing red and white jerseys up and down the court. Ewing was still ill in the gully sense and not in the injured sense that defined his final years in the NBA. The crew had gathered at Drew's, in Chelsea I think, and we were eating great takeout, pouring cocktails and watching the game while Loose End's Zagora played softly in the background. The Knicks were up and Drew and her then R&B boo were reconciling in the bedroom. It was a good night. A night of indulgence, love and basketball. Right in the middle of our fricking high and right in the final minutes of the best game ever, the news interrupts with OJ Simpson on the run in his white bronco. As riveting as that scene was, we were all pissed that we were missing-- the world was missing-- the biggest NYC basketball moment we had had in a long time... definitely in our 20-something lifetime! What a night?! And how ironic that I should hear from Drew last week (through theHotness no less) after being out of touch for like 5 years now.
The last thing I think of when I go to a Knicks game is the second time LeBaron gave me his tickets. This time he gave them to me a couple of days before the game so I was able to invite my dad and we went together. As much as my dad loves basketball and the Knicks and how he single handedly just made me the sports head that I am today, he had never gone to a game before. To be able to take my dad to see the Knicks (and have great seats) is one of the most gratifying moments of my life-- up there with graduating from college and introducing both my mom and dad to Isaac Hayes (which was also because I worked for LeBaron Taylor). And funny enough, in typical form the Knicks blew another 15-point lead and lost that game too in the final minutes. Because my dad is now ill I'm totally getting choked up thinking about that night. I cherish that moment deeply, eternally.