Talk to a long-suffering Knicks fan over 40 and before long he'll be waxing poetic about the Willis Reed game and those Bradley-Frazier teams. They'll spin Bill Brasky-like tales about Bernard and Micheal Ray and drop a few f-bombs as they rehash the Charles Smith game and John Starks' 2-for-18. They'll tell you how much they loved Pat Riley's tougher-than-nails teams and tell you where they were when LJ hit his four-pointer. They'll tell you how much they miss hearing those electric crowds at MSG and how that's the biggest shame of all -- the deader-than-dead crowds at the World's Most Famous Arena.
And all of it will be genuine. Still, it's a stretch to assign the phrase "long-suffering" to Knicks fans, no matter how fervently they believe it fits. So they've had lousy teams for the past few years. It happens. They're not Pacers fans, who had to endure the damaging and incomprehensible Artest Melee, which derailed a potential championship season and set the franchise back 10 years. They're not Sonics fans, whose team is bolting within the next three years. And they're not T-Wolves fans, whose franchise wasted the prime of a beloved icon and traded him too late for too little.