If you’re a Knicks fan, there’s plenty to be excited about.
Yes, James Dolan is still a coward and an idiot, but after making the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, things are finally looking up in the Big Apple.
With Tom Thibodeau, the 2021 NBA Coach of the Year, at the helm, along with former player agent extraordinaire Leon Rose and William “World Wide Wes” Wesley pulling strings in the front office, the once-moribund NBA franchise is relevant again.
The Knicks entered this offseason with a plan to improve upon their 2020-21 campaign by acquiring big-name talent, and after re-signing Julius Randle to a four-year extension worth $117 million, New York reeled in the big fish it was looking for in four-time All-Star Kemba Walker.
Walker became available after agreeing to a buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder—he forfeited a hefty sum of $20 million in order to regain his freedom—and while significant concerns remain about his troublesome knee, the 31-year-old, who grew up in the Bronx, is being welcomed in New York City with open arms after his previous stints with the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.
“We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker back to the city he’s proud to call home,” Rose wrote in a statement. “He’s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization. We’ve already seen how well he performs on The [Madison Square] Garden stage and can’t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends and the best fans in the league.”
To commemorate Kemba’s homecoming, the Knicks rolled out the red carpet with a dope-ass hype video to welcome the 2011 NCAA champion. Hosted by fellow Bronx native Chazz Palminteri, the Bullets over Broadway actor revisits the humble origins that led to Walker’s eventual NBA stardom.
“Kemba Walker was born in the Bronx on May 8th, 1990,” Palminteri begins. “The game of basketball came naturally to him. Kemba flashed his rare talent playing for the iconic New York Gauchos and then Rice High School.”
He continues, “He became a legend during the magical run with UConn during the 2011 Big East Tournament. Five wins in five nights. Remember that buzzer-beater at the World’s Most Famous Arena?”
I have never in life had anywhere I’ve worked make this much effort to celebrate my arrival, so I hope Kemba feels the love. More importantly, I hope he’s able to deliver on the court and kill the rumors that he’s no longer the player he used to be after multiple knee surgeries.