Amare… man… the whole Amare era is tough to really put into words.
I think as Knicks fans, we’ve mostly tended to heap a lot of the blame of the last five years on Amare. Amare’s injuries… Amare’s lack of defense… Amare’s inability to play next to Melo… Amare’s contract… He was the easy target. As much as any Knicks fan knew Dolan and the myriad of front office disasters were the tinder for this dumpster fire, it’s easier to point the finger at the guys you see on the court and the sideline day in and day out. And when one of those guys is more frequently in a walking boot than he is on the court, and making $20+ million a year for that, and absolutely murdering your ability to change the roster, it’s especially easy to point the finger at him.
So we did. We all did. And though we all appreciated his love for New York, he never really did much to shift the blame off himself. There was the Fire Extinguisher, the “I’ve never been taught defense” (no shit, Amare) quote, the complete lack of effort even after being “taught” defense, the notoriously thin-skinned twitter responses, the interview he conducted in a bath of fucking red wine, the list goes on and on. And yes, the injuries. The motherfucking injuries.
I don’t think anyone ever disliked Amare the person. In fact I think most fans genuinely liked him and had sympathy for how terribly his body broke down. But that doesn’t recuse him from blame. And as much of this shitshow can and should be put on Dolan and Isiah and Mills and Grunwald (lowkey arguably the worst of the bunch because of that FUCKING Bargniani trade… FUCK) and Donnie and Phil, it was just easier to look at Amare on the sideline and see that $20+ mil cap hit and watch him give no effort defensively and heap all that anger on him.
I’m as guilty of that as anyone. I yelled at that motherfucker from my couch more times than I’d ever care to admit. I thought about his cap figure and lost my shit about five times a week during those five years. I hated Amare because it was easy to hate him.
But since over the last year or so… shit, man… I can’t help but feel bad for everything that happened.
I mean you really can’t blame him for a lot of the shit that went wrong. He didn’t prematurely gut the roster and mortgage the future to trade for a guy we could’ve signed four months later. He never asked to play with another superstar who clearly wasn’t compatible with him. He wasn’t the one who couldn’t sign a good point guard. He wasn’t the one who ran himself into the ground playing like 40 minutes a game those first four months in 2010. He wasn’t the one who did an AWFUL job at building the roster. He didn’t write himself a $100 million uninsured check. He wasn’t the one who decide not to use the golden ticket amnesty on himself. And yeah it’s his body, but Amare didn’t get hurt because of a lack of effort. Some guys are just prone to injury. No matter how hard you work to prevent it, there’s only so much you can do. The guy was born with a bad set of knees and a limited shelf life. That’s just life. We got three good months out of him. The great months. Shit… three awesome, exciting, rejuvenating months for a fanbase that had been dragged through the mud for nearly a decade by that dickhead creepy-voiced woman-molesting piece of shit FUCKBOY Isiah. Three months before D’Antoni ran him into the ground and our talentless fuckass ewok owner James Dolan prematurely pushed to trade waaaaayyyyy too much for Melo when we could have just signed him four months later. And after that it was never the same.
So yeah, the Amare era was a huge disappointment. MASSIVE disappointment. And I do think he gets a little to much credit for having the “courage” to come to New York when the Knicks were the only ones offering an uninsured nine-figure contract.
But you know what… I don’t blame him anymore. I just can’t. There were too many incompetent idiots that were involved (and still are involved) in this team to place all the blame on a guy born with bad knees. He got dealt a bad hand at every turn in his Knicks tenure. Maybe he could’ve refrained from punching that fire extinguisher. Maybe he could’ve just done an interview outside his red wine bathtub. Maybe he could’ve tried a few times on defense. But for the most part, it’s not his fault. And if he wants to retire a Knick… fuck it… let him have his day.