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Thread: NY's sports legends haven't always been beloved

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    Post NY's sports legends haven't always been beloved

    Thinking about this on the way in to work this morning. How many great NY athletes have we had that have been universally liked as soon as they arrived & celebrated by the fans that have embraced the spotlight & not shyed away from it? Babe, the Mick, Clyde, Jeter & Messier's names instantly pop into my head. After that it's not so easy to name players that fit the mold.

    Reggie Jackson certainly embraced the spotlight, but he was highly resented by a big faction of Yankee fans & news media alike until he helped to deliver the championship that fans expected.

    Alex Rodriguez was hated by many of his own fans for years because he failed to deliver in the postseason, & still has his resentful detractors even after he almost single handedly carried the Yankees to their 27th championship in 2009. He's never been good at handling the spotlight. The news media was always waiting to see how he would manage to put his foot in his mouth next.

    Mike Piazza was getting booed when he first got to NY by Mets fans & even though he put up the numbers every year you never really got the sense that he was beloved as an icon of NY sports.

    Donnie Baseball, Mo Rivera, Willis Reed, Joe D, Lou Gehrig, all legends of their era & beloved by NY sports fans as well, but all very understated as individuals, never ones that really embraced the spotlight.

    We now have 2 of the biggest names in basketball playing in our city & fans are split in their esteem of them as players. Most Knick fans love what Amar'e Stoudemire has brought to this town, a return to legitimacy with a brand name star that fans can get behind & feel proud that he's wearing their colors. Being the first bright star that was willing to step up to the plate & embrace the pressure of playing in the toughest market to play in professional sports of his own free will after a long stretch of wretched futility with this franchise has earned him that status & rightfully so. He didn't even necessarily have to win as fans had become content to be mediocre for a change after years of being exposed to bad play.

    On the flip side of the coin, you have Carmelo Anthony, someone that's been labelled as a "diva" by some of his detractors because he forced his way to NY & made the team give up a big package of their assets in the process. The expectation levels have now been raised to an entirely new bar, no more are fans willing to accept anything less than an instant championship contender. There's obviously no pity for a player in his shoes, he had to know this would happen when he got here. The hullaballoo & hype that was raised upon his arrival put a bullseye on his back for the media & detractors at the slightest sign of the team faltering, but he was willing to accept that challenge. He knew what it would be like if the Knicks won. He wanted that. He wanted to come back home to the place of his birth & be loved by the fans of New York. It's becoming clear that the only way he can ever achieve that is if he delivers in the playoffs. The postseason will be his only chance to step up & become the NY sports icon that a once highly resented Reggie Jackson eventually became.

    Win & the fans of NY will love you. Don't win, & you will be despised for what certain fans deem to be a derailment of some fantasy that the mediocre roster we had in place before he arrived was ever going to lead us to anything more.


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    Excellent thread & enjoyed all of it.

    I believe you left out Ewing as one of the great one's that was always loved by New York but still, I understood & agree with everything you stated.

    Another great Yank, who the fans turned on, in favor of the Mick, was Roger Marris. I believe the movie is called "61". Fans turned on him during the HR chase between him & the Mick but later fell in love with Roger; but that doesn't erase the fact that fans made his life a living hell with hate mail during the HR chase (when trying to break the record set by Ruth).

    I've never been & will hopefully never become this type of fan, but you have to accept the NY fan base for what it is: Love you when your up, kick you when your down, spit in your face unless you start winning over night, send you hate mail if they disagree with you or simply run you out of town before giving you a chance to enjoy success. It's the "Yankee mentality". To each his own though.

    Melo falls under the whole "EXPECTED to win over night" saga.

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    You forgot one HUGE NY Sports figure.....

    JOE NAMATH.

    I see your point though, and even though I personally dont live in NY, being a NY sports fan it is true that its not easy gaining the respect and love of the fans. This is NOT LA, we are not laid back and just except the product that is put out on the field, court, diamond, etc.

    Sometimes expectations are just unrealistic and too high, but with these Knicks personally I didnt expect them to do anymore then finish with a winning record and make some noise in round 1, possibly even winning a series at the very most but thats it, since the Melo trade.

    I understand it takes time to gel and learn how to play together, but this excuse is starting to get old real fast when your losing to sub .500 teams night after night and completly collapsing in 4th quarters. It takes time, this is true, but the way they have been playing against non playoff teams is just a complete joke, especially on defense as they are very inconsistent with there effort and energy, not to mention a system that doesnt fit our players well and a very flawed defensive system at best.

    Personally, expecting for the Knicks to win a few more games than they lose (especially when they had Cleveland 2xs and Indiana 2 Xs on there schedule) and give a team a tough series in the first round are NOT unrealistic or unfair expectations in my opinion, once they aquired Melo. I can only speak for myself however, as their were atleast a couple posters thinking we had a chance to go to the Eastern Finals and maybe even win it this year, but most had realistic expectations IMO.

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    The difference is Melo currently isnt being allowed to do what he does best. So I gotta give him a pass.

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    Originally Posted by KnicksFanFromQueens1985
    Excellent thread & enjoyed all of it.

    I believe you left out Ewing as one of the great one's that was always loved by New York but still, I understood & agree with everything you stated.

    Another great Yank, who the fans turned on, in favor of the Mick, was Roger Marris. I believe the movie is called "61". Fans turned on him during the HR chase between him & the Mick but later fell in love with Roger; but that doesn't erase the fact that fans made his life a living hell with hate mail during the HR chase (when trying to break the record set by Ruth).

    I've never been & will hopefully never become this type of fan, but you have to accept the NY fan base for what it is: Love you when your up, kick you when your down, spit in your face unless you start winning over night, send you hate mail if they disagree with you or simply run you out of town before giving you a chance to enjoy success. It's the "Yankee mentality". To each his own though.

    Melo falls under the whole "EXPECTED to win over night" saga.
    Yes, Ewing would certainly fit under the category of NY Sports legends who were never truly appreciated until they were gone. But to be fair he was abrasive at times to the fans & to the media, so in some respects he made his own bed in that regard. He allowed his own pride to get in the way of the team's best interests at times, demanding to be fed the ball even when he was well past his prime. I think NY fans wanted him to embrace a more team oriented concept but he was too set in his ways too used to being the man that he decided he wasn't feeling appreciated for the long years of hard work & dedication he had invested into this franchise. His departure was handled wrong by both sides.

    About what you said about NY fans & their "Yankee mentality", I am a diehard Yankee fan have been since '75, I have stuck by the team through some lean years & it's not always been pretty. Most Yankee fans are casual fans as are most fans of any championship winning franchise. When they win they come out in droves sporting the colors & chanting in the bleechers, when they're losing the seats are empty. I remember plenty of games during the Wayne Tolleson/Bobby Meacham years that the entire upper deck at Yankee Stadium & a large portion of the bleechers were completely empty during home games, which would be absolutely unheard of now, you can't even buy a seat these days most games are almost completely sold out.

    However, this is not exclusive to the Yankees, I've seen plenty of Met fans, Red Sox fans, Phillies fans, etc. post some of the most hateful & malicious comments about their own players on forums & on sports call-in shows too. Bottomline is sports fans are all passionate & not always reasonable thinkers. We are all fanatics of our own teams our support can sometimes waiver if subjected to enough aggravation over poor performance.

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    Originally Posted by PaPZ187
    You forgot one HUGE NY Sports figure.....

    JOE NAMATH.

    I see your point though, and even though I personally dont live in NY, being a NY sports fan it is true that its not easy gaining the respect and love of the fans. This is NOT LA, we are not laid back and just except the product that is put out on the field, court, diamond, etc.

    Sometimes expectations are just unrealistic and too high, but with these Knicks personally I didnt expect them to do anymore then finish with a winning record and make some noise in round 1, possibly even winning a series at the very most but thats it, since the Melo trade.

    I understand it takes time to gel and learn how to play together, but this excuse is starting to get old real fast when your losing to sub .500 teams night after night and completly collapsing in 4th quarters. It takes time, this is true, but the way they have been playing against non playoff teams is just a complete joke, especially on defense as they are very inconsistent with there effort and energy, not to mention a system that doesnt fit our players well and a very flawed defensive system at best.

    Personally, expecting for the Knicks to win a few more games than they lose (especially when they had Cleveland 2xs and Indiana 2 Xs on there schedule) and give a team a tough series in the first round are NOT unrealistic or unfair expectations in my opinion, once they aquired Melo. I can only speak for myself however, as their were atleast a couple posters thinking we had a chance to go to the Eastern Finals and maybe even win it this year, but most had realistic expectations IMO.
    Yes, you're right I should have included Broadway Joe absolutely. If ever a NY athlete embraced the spotlight it was him. In contrast the biggest Giant legend of my lifetime LT was embraced by Giant fans but you never really got a sense of what kind of personality he had off the gridiron.

    It's pretty obvious Melo really wants to be in the spotlight & wants to be embraced by the NY fans, you could see it on his face when he got introduced at the Garden during that first game, that ovation he got is just a taste of what he'll get if he delivers in the postseason. I am hoping he goes into the playoffs this year with a single-minded focus & have the mentality to do what it takes to win the crowd. I want to see him put the team's recent struggles behind him & set his sights on being a team guy first & foremost, encourage his teammates when they're struggling, not act aloof & distant during huddles & timeouts, I want to see him & Amar'e dedicating themselves to putting maximum effort forth on the court every single night, because that's the only way this team will have a chance to make any noise this year. Otherwise the Knick fans will have all summer to bemoan this trade & develop a severe hatred for him, which you can already see is beginning to develop. I don't think it's easy to recover after you get yourself into the bad graces of the NY fanbase. Reggie Jackson was able to do it, A-Rod should have been able to do the same but you still get a sense he's not fully accepted by Yankee fans sometimes. I am hoping Melo can follow in Reggie's footsteps, obviously not expecting him to deliver us a championship but I want him to have some big moments in the playoffs. I think that will go a LONG way in helping him to establish a real rapport with the Knicks' fanbase.

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    Great posting STAT1.

    I guess you can say Ewing wasn't appreciated by many but that wasn't the case with me. I started watching NY during the 92-93 season @ the age of only 8 or 9 but knew the basics of the game from playing little league basketball a year before that. Growing up Ewing was seriously my hero. Mom use to buy me posters of Ewing & what not lol but yeah... By the time I was 15-16 I was at the local parks thinking I was Ewing @ the height of only 5'10. Some say I was a broken down Charles Smith but I was always Ewing in my heart. I guess thats what happens as a kid though; you dream & look up to these stars. I never knew Ewing wasn't loved by most though, I was kind of shocked when I read that.

    Nothing against Yankee fans either. I'd expect to win too after spending millions & millions every offseason. TB cant even get fans to show up until the playoffs to support a winning team. It's sad. We're gonna lose this team to NC before 2016. Hopefully the younger fans start to show up or we're gone.

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