The Knicks season isn't quite over—they should notch their 60th loss tonight in Jersey—but it sure seems like it is. Not only to the fans, but apparently to the players as well.
Because late yesterday afternoon at West Fourth Street, among the usual mix of hustlers and jeans-clad old-timers, there was Knicks rookie Nate Robinson, semi-incognito in grey wifebeater, baggy red shorts and pristine red suede Jordan XXIs, getting in runs. And this wasn't just a cameo. Nate ran for a good hour or more, pushing the ball upcourt, catching the occasional dunk putback, blocking a few shots.
Yet the crowd wasn't more than for the usual run. And Nate's the defending slam dunk champ! Imagine the crowds Jordan would have drawn in Chicago in the summer of '87, or Spud Webb in Atlanta in the summer of '86. Even Kenny "Sky" Walker on these same courts in the summer of '90. And this is before the season is even over! Not sure if it speaks more to the aloofness of New Yorkers, the waning interest in the Knicks (none of the daily papers had anything on Nate's outdoor exploits today) or simply the fact that, at 5-7, Nate doesn't exactly stand out in a crowd.
There was some buzz, for sure—people calling friends, pictures being taken on camera phones and Sidekicks—but not much. After it all ended (with Nate's team leaving the court winners) Nate ducked into the McDonald's across the street as one of his bopys warmed up his rimmed out (25s at least) champagne H2 parked right across from the court. (If the rims didn't give it away, the Washington state plates did.) As he pulled off a few minutes later, the crowd hadn't visibly changed from when he was playing, despite the fact that a ragged pick-up game had replaced the Knick rookie.
Guess that's just New York.