It’s the Ipe House of Basketball


Now that I got that out the way….

Oh man, this has been a basketball-filled month for the Ipes, much to my wife’s consternation. It began in early February with Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom and the NY Knicks turning their losing season around. Let me use a 90’s flashback to explain.

So I became a NY Knicks fan late in life — I’d estimate roughly in 1993 while watching the Knicks-Bulls playoff matchup. Damn, it still hurts to think of game 5 where Charles Smith was blocked four consecutive times directly under the basket as he attempted to give New York the lead in that 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls. It felt like an eternity. After that playoff series, I was oddly hooked by that motley cast of characters –e.g. Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Anthony Mason, and Charles Oakley.

I watched as many games as I could during their 1993-1994 run for the title, entranced by their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Reggie Miller & the Indiana Pacers and I was heartbroken during their ultimate defeat at the hands of Hakeem Olajuwon & his Houston Rockets. I had hopes the Knicks could do it again in 1995, but that hope died with Ewing’s unlucky finger roll against the Pacers.

The next few seasons weren’t that great and I lost interest while I focused on living life in the University @ Albany dorms, finding myself, dating for the first time, etc. In this interval period, I changed schools and careers, so life was pretty tumultuous for me. Sorry, with a sad Knicks team, I had more on my mind.

During the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season, I missed most of the season, but I, along with the rest of NY, was captivated by these new Knicks during their Cinderella post-season run through the playoffs and the NBA Finals. Absolutely captivated. Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby, Charlie Ward, Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing, Larry “Grandmama” Johnson. Sadly, this season also ended in defeat in Texas, but this time at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Damn, Duncan, Robinson, Johnson. They were just the better team, and Knicks were so banged up.

That Knicks team imploded and exploded over the next few years, the players I loved got traded away for lesser players, and a succession of new coaches couldn’t stop the downward spiral of the team’s fortunes. Don Nelson, Don Chaney, I’ll just stop right there before I get to the miserable Isiah Thomas era. I lost interest, but I checked in every once in a while.

Last year, the Knicks weren’t much better, but with the new big HD TV, I was watching the 2011 NBA playoffs. Man, so many fun teams to watch — the Mavericks, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Grizzlies. I had a great time watching, even if my Knicks got eliminated in the first round. I was having fun again. Also, Joshua had somehow become a fan of Derrick Rose & the new-look Chicago Bulls. After the Bulls dominance during the 1990’s, I wasn’t going to be a fan, but I supported my son in his new-found interest in sports. It probably had something to do with all the soccer we’d been playing.

Which brings us circuitously back to 2012. Why is this the month of basketball for the Ipes?

  1. Joshua and I have been watching the Chicago Bulls when they have games playing.
  2. We went to a Bulls-Nets game on February 7th, and had a great time.
  3. Alhough I missed Jeremy Lin’s Feb 4th fateful game against the Nets, I have not missed any other Knicks games this month. Finally, a Knicks team is playing well together, winning games, and above all, is exciting to watch. I can scarcely believe it with my own eyes. I haven’t cares this much since 1999. Seriously.
  4. I also now want to watch these other exciting teams. It’s hard for me to miss an OKC Thunder game. If anything, I check ESPN nightly on my phone to read the recaps. Maybe soccer got me more into sports now.

I don’t think my wife has been enjoying his recent monopolization with basketball. She never cared for it during July when I watch the Tour de France, but this is lasting much longer than a three week bicycle race. I think we’ll need to seriously consider a second television for the guest room later this year.

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