Marv Albert was the voice of the New York Knicks for what seemed like forever. The fact that he can now be heard calling Brooklyn Nets games is sickening to most loyal Knicks fans. Firing Albert was just another of many terrible decisions from Knicks owner James Dolan. That’s why Albert influenced Steve Kerr to accept the Golden State Warriors job.
The voice has spoken. At a moment when Steve Kerr was leaning towards becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks, Marv Albert stepped in and told Kerr to stay clear of Madison Square Garden and James Dolan. It’s not that Albert didn’t love his time with the Knicks. It’s that those years ended tragically. Something he’s seen happen over and over again.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News reports that when Kerr was looking for advice about the Knicks it was Albert who told him the truth without any sugar coating.
Throughout the process, reports surfaced about Kerr researching Garden culture under Dolan, which included conversations with Albert, his TNT partner. “Steve reads everything. This was not something he didn’t know,” Albert said. “But he wanted to get deeper into it.”
“Well, I told him it never ends well there. Just look at recent history. It’s because of one man (Dolan),” Albert told me Thursday over the telephone. “There is no happiness there. I say this with all kinds of friends I have there and (the ones) at the MSG Network. Everybody hates being there. For coaches it’s very difficult. Steve couldn’t accept anyone (from MSG’s PR staff) following him around with a tape recorder. Like Phil, Steve is a guy who wants to say what he wants to say,” Albert continued. “He’s very opinionated, which doesn’t always work when you are at the Garden.”
Obviously, when asking around about the Knicks if you can talk to a person who worked for them for 37 years that’s probably your best bet for the inside scoop. Unfortunately for the Knicks, their former broadcaster had a falling out with the owner. Basically, Dolan is a baby and doesn’t like anyone being too critical of the Knicks. Ask Frank Isola.
That being said, it’s not like Albert was just being bitter. His words ring true. Most things, situations and relationships end poorly in Madison Square Garden when Dolan’s involved. Albert’s situation wasn’t the exception but the rule.
That’s a major part of what Phil Jackson is going to need to change moving forward. Reshaping the culture of New York must be a priority for Jackson and the Knicks.
In the end, while Albert didn’t help the Knicks land Kerr he certainly shouldn’t be blamed for them striking out with their top coaching choice either. That decision was Kerr’s and if anyone deserves the blame for dropping the ball it’s Jackson.
The fact is, Jackson set his sights on one candidate and didn’t get the deal done. On Kerr’s end, he was able to get an extra year from the Golden State Warriors, a better roster, and all while getting to stay close to his family on the West Coast. Clearly Kerr and the Knicks weren’t meant to be. Not with Dolan looming over the organization.
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