NBA season has officially begun, as Stephen A. Smith has launched into his first rant against the New York Knicks.
The ESPN NBA analyst and Knicks fan took to the airwaves of his radio show on Monday less than 24 hours after the latest debacle at Madison Square Garden. Shortly after the Knicks dropped a 108-87 decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers, team president Steve Mills addressed in the media in a bizarre impromptu press conference. Rumors have since emerged that management is seeking to oust head coach David Fizdale as a scapegoat.
With limited options after missing out on top free agents and trading franchise player Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas last season, Fizdale has tallied a 19-73 mark in two seasons at the helm. The Knicks' streak of futility currently stands at six straight seasons without a playoff berth, and they're approaching two decades without a conference finals appearance.
Smith began his latest rant by loudly declaring his humiliation over the team's current proceedings.
"I'm embarrassed. Enough showers, baths, and the beyond does not eradicate the stain, the stench that hovers over me every time my name is associated with this damn franchise!" he yells. "The New York Knicks were so embarrassing last night, sanitation workers wouldn't want to have shown up at Madison Square Garden. They couldn't take that smell."
The Knicks (2-8) shot just 36 percent from the floor and never led a game in which they trailed by as much as 30 in the third quarter. ESPN Radio's status as the flagship station of Knicks basketball couldn't even hold back Smith in his anger.
Smith further rips Mills, who also served as the team's general manager from 2013-17.
"How do you come out of a press conference with a straight damn face on an NFL Sunday evening, in the immediate aftermath of an atrocious loss to a hapless Cleveland Cavaliers squad, and literally say with a straight face 'We were supposed to be better than this'? With the roster you have accumulated how do you do that?" Smith exclaims, visually shaking. "What the hell's going on?"
"To have an impromptu press conference in the immediate aftermath of a game, a loss, against the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers...you expected to be better? I believe Steve Mills should drug tested immediately for that statement!"
After missing out on free agents and the top pick in the NBA Draft, the Knicks rolled out a roster of mostly younger players anchored by journeymen veterans like Marcus Morris and Julius Randle. The latter led the team with 20 points (6-14 FG) and 16 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to combat the Cavs. New York's young group of Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, and RJ Barrett all struggled in defeat, shooting a combined 7-for-24 from the field.
"What the hell is going on?" Smith rhetorically asks. "I swear to God, you all are lucky I'm over FCC airwaves. Oh, my Lord. If there was ever a time I wish I wasn't restricted by FCC airwaves, it's this."
The Knicks return to action on Tuesday night, taking on the Chicago Bulls on the road.