New York Knicks: Why fans deserve some of the blame
Fans of the New York Knicks have been loyal despite the lack of team success. Consequently, ownership and management have accepted mediocrity as the new standard.
The New York Knicks have some of the best fans in all of sports. No one is more aware of this fact than their owner, James Dolan. Unfortunately, Dolan and Phil Jackson have taken advantage of it.
Instead of using fan involvement as a catalyst they have used it as a reason to not improve. Knicks fans should expect a repeat of the last few years unless they take a stand. The only stand that can make a difference is one made with their wallet and their attendance.
Fans must remember that owners have become billionaires because they love money, not because they love sports. So, the only way to get their attention is to attack their profit-margin.
When game attendance, jersey sales and TV ratings begin to fall, Mr. Dolan will start to notice. Otherwise, the cycle of laughable mediocrity will continue to the detriment of Knicks fans.
New York City is one of the largest and most important cities in all of the world. The large residential and tourist population within the city means Madison Square Garden will always be full.
With that being said, the indigenous fans of NYC who continue to support awful basketball deserve some of the blame. Continuing to buy tickets in support of a team that doesn’t care about its fans sends the wrong message to Dolan.
Yes, the size and importance of New York City means the Knicks will always be in the top half of NBA attendance rankings. Knicks fans and season-ticket holders are right to want to support their hometown team.
However, their acceptance of an organization that has become a laughing-stock is a part of the problem. New York Knicks fans who consistently go to games need to seriously consider spending their money somewhere else.
In the Top-5 once Again
According to ESPN, the New York Knicks had the fifth-best attendance in the NBA this season. The top five in order is: Bulls, Cavaliers, Raptors, Mavericks and Knicks. Three of the top five are playoff teams, with the Mavericks riding the success of recent years.
Yet, the Knicks have no recent history of success. Fans continue to buy tickets despite the insanity of James Dolan and Phil Jackson. Until these fans stop going to games, Dolan and Jackson won’t get the message. Unfortunately, these attendance numbers are not a fluke based on this season.
Recent Attendance History
If the New York Knicks were in the top 10 for NBA attendance for just this season, it would make sense. Coming into this season with Derrick Rose alongside Carmelo Anthony rightfully gave fans newfound hope.
Unfortunately, the season became a tragic comedy just as it has the last few years.
Going back into history always provides new perspectives on current problems. Last season, the Knicks had nearly the same record as this year (32-50) and again finished in the top five for NBA attendance.
Two years in a row, identical results and fans still keep showing up. On one hand, the numbers are a testimony to the greatness of New York Knicks fans. On the other, it shows why Dolan doesn’t care if his team is good or not. It is time for fans to take a stand with their wallets.
2014-15: Worst record in recent history
In the horrible season of 2014-15, the Knicks finished with a 17-65 record. Despite this epic failure the team actually finished higher in NBA attendance! No doubt this fact spoke to James Dolan and Phil Jackson. To them fans were saying “We don’t care how awful you are.”
Knicks fans deserve better than what they have been given. However, James Dolan in no way deserves the loyalty of the fans. Knicks fans who continue to give their money to Dolan are a part of the problem. Stop going to games and everyone from the players to the owner will take notice.
Not only are the Knicks consistently at the top of league attendance, they are also at the top of jersey sales. Again, being in one of the largest cities in the world will always help the Knicks’ numbers.
It is this same large population that holds all the power in their bank accounts. When they stop spending money on tickets and jerseys, James Dolan will start paying attention.
The top-15 NBA jersey sales are filled with names like LeBron James and James Harden. The full list includes 13 players whose teams made it into the playoffs. Yet, two players on that list play for a really bad team: the New York Knicks.
Kristaps Porzingis ranks seventh on the list with Derrick Rose coming in 12th. Loyal fans have spent their hard-earned money to support two players who gave little in return. Rose was a disappointment all season and Porzingis didn’t even go to his year-end meeting with management.
Fans of the New York Knicks bear partial responsibility for the state of the team. By accepting the mediocrity and downright awfulness of this team the fans have allowed James Dolan to run wild.
Before the standard can be shifted fans must shift their way of thinking. Stay loyal and love your Knicks. However, don’t let that loyalty get in the way of taking a stand for excellence.
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