Picked this bad boy up today $1
“Can’t believe the Knicks!” Jimmy complained as he downed a glass of beer standing in Farrell’s.
“Yeah, I know, they suck,” Billy answered. Billy was a Nets fan, so he loved piling on even though the team that plays down on Flatbush and Atlantic have had their problems this season.
Earlier in the evening the New York Knicks traveled to Boston and lost to the Celtics, 100-91.
“I took them and the points,” Jimmy announced while he stood at the bar looking up at the television which happened to be showing highlights of the game.
“How many were you getting,” Duffer asked from behind the bar as he poured a Container for a customer on the go.
“Eight and a half,” answered Jimmy.
Duffer shook his head. He didn’t have an answer. Matter of fact, he didn’t want to answer despite enjoying breaking balls from time-to-time.
But Duffer was thinking to himself Jimmy must be stupid for betting the Knicks tonight no matter how many points they were getting.
New York had played the night before and lost to the Hawks. They had the game on, matter of fact the place was packed. There was a party up at Holy Name earlier and the crowd made their way down to continue drinking.
The Knicks looked awful against the Hawks, especially in the second half. Celtics played Saturday night too, they beat the Pistons in Detroit but now they were back home playing in front of their fans.
“That’s four games in a row they have lost, not bettin’ them again for a while,” Jimmy said, trying to sound convincing.
Duffer, throwing some cash in the register not looking at Jimmy couldn’t resist.
It’s a Wednesday night. Billy and Jimmy are hanging out in Farrell’s. Both guys just got off work. Billy’s an ironworker working on a building on Madison and forty-third over in midtown. Jimmy’s a cop who works at the 7th Precinct in the lower east side. It’s a little after six.
“You see 30 for 30 last night on ESPN?” Jimmy asks Billy as he takes a sip from his glass of beer.
“Nah, it came on too late, I gotta get up at four in the mornin’,” Billy answers as he looks up at the TV which is showing highlights from game two of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.
“You missed a good one,” Jimmy muttered.
Billy takes a sip of his beer.
“They’ll show it again, ESPN is always showing those shows over and over,” Billy counters.
Both men visit Farrell’s every night after work to get together, talk sports and talk about life.
“Knicks looked good last night,” Billy mentions as he gulps down the rest of his beer.
“Duffer, gimme another,” Billy shouts.
Duffer is behind the stick tonight, he’s been working at Farrell’s for over 30 years. He’s a local guy and it must be noted, one of the better guys in the neighborhood. He’s also a retired fireman.
“Not sure how the triangle offense is gonna work,” Jimmy added.
“Well, if Carmelo buys-in to the team philosophy, anything is possible” Billy offered. “Not to mention he has to play defense and stop being a ball hog.”
The Knicks have not won a championship in 41 years. They have a new coach, a new offense and Phil Jackson is back at thirty-third and seventh running the show.
“How’s your kid like her new school?” Jimmy asks.
“She’s coping, but she’s bummed that Ford closed.”
Bishop Ford closed it’s doors this past June forcing many families to look for another school.
“It’s a shame, Ford was the place you went after you graduated from Holy Name,” Jimmy says as Duffer places another glass of beer in front of him and pulls some money off the bar.
“Yeah, that sucks,” Billy says. “But it doesn’t matter to me, I went to Jay, and my daughter loves Saviour’s.”
Saint Saviour’s is an all-girls high school down on sixth street. Many girls from the neighborhood go there.
The bar begins to fill up. Duffer is joined by another bartender, he’s new on the job, Duffer will be training him tonight.
“I miss the Knicks teams of the seventies,” Jimmy admitted.
“Yeah me too,” Billy agrees.
“They played the right way. Frazier, Bradley and Willis.” Jimmy added.
“Don’t forget their coach, Red Holzman,” Billy shouts. “HIT THE OPEN MAN and SEE THE BALL!”
Both men laugh and reach for their glasses and take a gulp of beer.
“Just like our coaches at Holy Name taught us,” Jimmy says as he lets out a burp.
“I miss the days of waking up on Saturday morning, running to the yard and playing three-on-three all day.” Billy says. “Kids don’t play in the yard anymore.”
Both men polish off another glass of beer.
“We’ll never see another team like the Knicks from nineteen seventy-three,” Jimmy says.
“No doubt about that,” says Billy. “And with that, I gotta get outta here Jimmy, my old lady wants to go down to Snooky’s and see some friends.”
Snooky’s is a bar-restaurant on seventh avenue.
“Don’t get into any fights with the seventh avenue boys,” Jimmy reminds his friend.
Billy grabs his money off the bar, throws a ten down and shouts, “YO DUFFER, GIMME A CONTAINER TO GO AND GIVE JIMMY A DRINK!”
Duffer heads to the stick, fills a container and swipes the ten off the bar. Billy’s out the side door, headed down sixteenth street on his way home.
Jimmy looks up at the television. Glances at all the people in the bar and downs his glass of beer.
“Duffer, gimme a shot of Johnny Walker.”
This weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts, former Ft. Hamilton High graduate Bernard King will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
This honor is long overdue.
When I think of ‘BK’, two things come to mind; intensity and outstanding scorer. The 6’7″ small forward by way of Fort Greene, Brooklyn played the game hard and could score on anyone. The great Larry Bird once said about King, “The best scoring machine I have ever seen.”
King played 14 seasons in the NBA and scored 19,655 points. He was a four-time all-star and led the league in scoring in 1985.
“Bernard King was unstoppable once he got the ball…a tremendous offensive force for many years in the NBA,” said Pat Williams, Senior VP, Orlando Magic.
One of my many memories of King took place on Christmas night in 1984. (Right, I know, your favorite memory of King is from his role in the movie, “Fast Break” with Gabe Kaplan.)
I was a loyal and frequent customer on 33rd and 8th. It started when I was twelve, also on Christmas night when I watched the Knicks play the 76ers. It was Julius Erving’s first time to the Garden as a Sixer. Brooklyn’s own Lloyd Free went off that night for Philly. The Knicks lost, I was miserable for days.
My childhood friend Glenn Thomas and I went to Madison Square Garden on that Tuesday night to see the Knicks take on the New Jersey Nets. We later went over to the Limelight and hung out with Rick James. The announced attendance was 10,581, MSG was half-empty but today, everyone and their little brother says they were in the house; even Spike Lee said he was up in the blue seats. I was a huge Knicks fan as a kid but when they traded my favorite player Michael Ray Richardson in 1982, I soured on them for a while. By the way, Sugar was traded for King.
When people talk about King’s Christmas present to the fans by scoring 60 points and dishing out 5 assists against the Nets, they make a major omission; the Nets won the game 120-114 behind Sugar’s 36 points.
The Knicks record coming in to the game was 12-18 while the Nets were 11-17.; not a marquee matchup by any stretch of the imagination. Probably why there was 9,000 empty seats.
King had 40 points by half-time as the Knicks led by ten. Nets head coach Stan Albeck had to make an adjustment so he tried getting the ball out of King’s hands; it worked. The Knicks small-forward managed just 20 points in the second half. That’s funny, I said ‘he just managed’. George Johnson of the Nets did the best job defensively. “George’s long arms bothered him a little bit in the second half,” the Nets coach said.
The former Tennessee Volunteer shot 19 for 30 from the field that night and 22 for 26 from the free-throw line. Jeff Turner and Kevin McKenna, the Nets small forwards assigned to guard King could probably tell us great stories.
The Nets win started a four game win streak for them where they beat the Knicks again three nights later across the river in Jersey. All King did in that game was drop 39.
A side not to that Christmas night explosion; Bernard’s younger brother Albert was a member of the Nets team but didn’t play due to an injury.
A second side note; this was the same season King got hurt in Kansas City trying to block Reggie Theus’ lay-up.
Final side not, I promise; after King was injured the Knicks lost their last 12 games of the season finishing 24-58. He missed the entire season 85-86 season which was Patrick’s Ewing rookie season. Oh yeah, New York opened the season losing their first eight.
“I’d rather have scored 10 and we had won the game,” King said after the game. “To lose a game that we had control of the whole way is very frustrating.”