The 2012-2013 New York Knicks season looks to be very promising and a roller coaster ride. The pieces are in place to gear up for a deep playoff run. Anything less than that would be considered a big letdown. I’m sick of the excuses and the heartbreak. For basically the past decade the Knicks have been terrible on and off the court. They have been saying they are rebuilding and looking for the future. Hey guess what, this is your built team and this is the future. One of the major pieces that need to play the way we know he can play is Amar’e Stoudemire.
Before Carmelo Anthony came to the Big Apple, this was Amar’e’s city. He was the first major free agent signing that made in impact for the Knicks in what seemed liked forever. He was a leader and a pioneer in the new era of Knicks basketball. The first half of his first year STAT played lights out. He was an All-Star starter and arguably the best player of the first half. In the second half of that season Carmelo came and it took away touches from Stoudemire.
Riddled with injuries in the playoffs against Boston, we never saw Stoudemire play at a high level in the season’s biggest stage. In the following offseason all we heard was Amar’e was in the best shape of his life and he somehow grew an inch and gained more muscle. I was pumped. One of my favorite players even before he was on the Knicks, I expected Amar’e to have his best year of his career. I expected him and Carmelo to coexist and dominate the east. Sadly as we all know, we were all let down.
Two months into the season and with the Knicks not doing so well, his older brother died in a car accident. Athletes are humans and this had to have a major impact on his life. Tragedy such as death in a family and especially in an older brother can do damage to your mental psyche. After the tragedy, Stoudemire was not voted into the All-Star game for the first time since 2006. This proved that he wasn’t on his A game. This was the first time in a long time that he did not play with a proven point guard. Playing with Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, and Raymond Felton benefited him greatly, feeding off the pick and rolls and moving without the ball.
Amar’e said that the weight he gained in the offseason actually hurt his game, leading him to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. I don’t think that was the right thing to do in a middle of a season where you shouldn’t be messing around with your body, but it did work helping him play his best ball of the season. Shortly after, he would suffer a bulging disk in his back and would miss most of the remainder of the season, where Linsanity would happen. I don’t need to get into that.
In the playoffs against the hated Miami Heat, Stoudemire infamously punched a glass fire extinguisher case and would miss his first playoff game at Madison Square Garden. He did this out of frustration in him and the team not playing to what he feels like they can play at and being embarrassed by Miami in two straight games. He was the one who said he wanted to go “hunting” in Miami during the offseason. Well that failed.
So after two first round exits, timely injuries and a glimpse of Stoudemire taking a step back in his career, why should fans cheer for him? Because he needs us too and he deserves it. The Garden will be filled with big hope and dreams this year and they can’t do it without him. He is still only 29 and will be focused this year. He will have 2-point guards who can give him the ball where he likes it and doesn’t have to worry about creating his own shot.
Amar’e is a leader and energetic. He is the reason why everyone wanted to come to New York in the first place. Last year was a struggle on and off the court, and I believe Amar’e is focused to bounce back big time. He loves New York and New York should love him right back. When he is on his game, he is one of the best power forwards in the league and can change the game. He needs to know the best fans in the world have his back (not too much though don’t want to hurt it.)
The Knicks need Amar’e. The Knicks need their fans to be the best fans a team can ask for. Supporting and cheering for Amar’e Stoudemire will show them and him that we expect big things and are behind them 100 percent.