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As a gen xer, the 90s were my favorite decade— movies, music, the Yankees and especially the New York Knicks. Herring’s exceptionally well-written account really transported me back to an era when I was a young man, New York was alive and my favorite teams were truly great, not just good. Now I am in my fifties and nostalgic for the last great era of New York sports. The only flaw with this book is that it should have ended with the 2001 first- round loss to the Toronto; it would have been great if we got to see the very end of the Knicks greatness, not to mention the 2000 playoffs when New York eliminated Miami for the third consecutive year.
Pat Riley’s Knicks achieved legendary status despite never getting that championship. The unique style with which they played, their fascinating group of overachieving role players fitting into Riley’s system like a perfect match, next to a hungry star makes for a great story. When the rules get changed because of your team, it saves a place in the sports’ history. These Knicks achieved exactly that.
I’m biased - I got a John Starks cameo as a wedding gift - but this was a team that was either loved or hated with no space in between.
Background information on Riley’s entrance and exit, Don Nelson’s short, disastrous, tenure, and the unexpected rise at the end of the century. I long harbored ill will for Riley because he left New York, but new insight from this book has changed some of those feelings.
Hardcore Knicks fans recognize that Chris Herring is the GOAT of beat writers for the Knicks, combining an acute understanding of the modern game and its analytics with an appreciation for its history and stellar journalistic chops. The clearly deep digging and diving ( eg. going to Pat Riley's upstate New York hometown to get background info on the recalcitrant Riley) is what takes this book beyond a mere rehashing of the last era that the Knicks were contenders for the championship into the gestalt of this beloved franchise. Herring alternates a narrative of this era, with in-depth revelations about the key people, players, coaches, front office, and owner, and the combination of presenting revelations that were not known before along with his insights into the franchise make this book fresh and a must-read for Knick fans, while we wait, yet again for this franchise to climb back to where it once was.
A good book that provides a solid overview of what the Knicks were like in the 90s. Very much a recounting of certain games, match-ups, etc. And some nice back story on specific players, rivalries, and so forth. But too often it feels like just a recounting of what happened, including box scores and statistics. Entire years go by way in the blink of a paragraph and you don't feel, as a reader, any investment at all. You never get the sense that there's really anything at stake. Patrick Ewing, one of the top 100 players of all time, is relegated to a chapter and a few spare sentences elsewhere. You get no sense of the kind of force he actually was, or why. LJ's 4-point play, one of the greatest moments in Knicks history, is like two sentences long. So is the Allan Houston game winner. There's almost nothing about Sprewell reviving his career in New York. Very little on Camby. There's more on Anthony Mason than was probably necessary. But there is a lot on Riley, and that's great. A lot on Van Gundy too, and Checketts (all of which is a positive for the book). Overall, felt the book did a good job exploring what the Knicks did in the 90s; at the same time, book didn't do a good job exploring why anyone should care.
Have had to wait a little longer to get my hands on this, living in England but this book was well worth the wait. A really enjoyable and detailed account of an era unlike any other for the Knicks. Pretty much all of the important figures are given a deep dive, with the Anthony Mason chapter being a particular highlight. One of the best sports books i've read in recent years!
I am a Knicks fan. The teams of the 90s were my favorite era. This book relived those memories, plus provided behind the scenes details that I was never aware of. This may be my favorite sports book ever. I highly recommend this to fans of that team.