Madison Square Garden, the home of the New York Knicks, is considered the Mecca of basketball. Ask nearly any basketball player and they’ll share that no other arena in the world offers a grander stage. As such, many visiting players put on astounding, record book performances that embarrass the heck out of Knicks players when they step on the court. There was Michael Jordan’s “Double-Nickel” game, aka the time he dropped 55 points just nine days after returning from retirement. There was also that time Kobe Bryant scored 61 points going 20-20 from the stripe. Then, two days after Black Mamba dropped 61, LeBron James came thru and also sucked the life out of the Garden with a 54 point, 9 rebound, 11 assist performance. And who can forget the 2015 MVP, Stephen Curry, shooting lights out at the Garden two seasons ago? One February night, everything fell for the sharp shooter. He went 11-13 from three and effortlessly finished the night with 54 points of his own. There are countless other examples of visitors putting on a show, however those are among the most memorable because fans had the privilege of watching the league’s best players in their prime raise the bar.
But the game’s greatest aren’t the only players to wow fans at the world’s most famous arena. Some of the league’s non-superstars have had nights to remember also. One such player is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Martin. Last season, K. Mart notched a season-high 37 points. With a broken wrist. Yup, Martin went 14-20 on the night, only to be diagnosed with a fractured wrist the next day. That night was one of the few highlights in the 16-66 team’s 2014-2015 season.
During media day, earlier this week, Martin was asked about last season’s standout performance. Here’s his response.
“How did you score 39 points with a broken wrist?” Kevin Martin: “Luck? Nah, I was playing the Knicks.”
— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) September 28, 2015
I guess the Knicks deserve that dig, but I’m not so sure K. Mart is the person who should be delivering it. After all, the T-Wolves are the only NBA team that outdid the 17-65 Knicks in the loss column last season. Also, the ’90s Knicks fan in me is offended that players are comfortable publicly talking smack about the Knicks. Once upon a time, the Knicks were so respected that when opponents stepped into the Garden, they knew to expect 12 rounds with a heavyweight. Now, everyone glances at the schedule and laughs off the Knicks as an easy victory. Well, if the Knicks needed motivation to have pride in themselves as professional basketball players and a team, K. Mart’s shade better inspire them to raise their game and reclaim some honor and dignity for the Knicks organization. Knicks great Willis Reed didn’t risk it all by limping out of the tunnel in 1973 so his team could be publicly played by a bootleg K. Mart 40 years later.