We miss you.
Not just the media. Not just the team. Not just the fans. This city, though, misses you. This city needs you.
It seems like just yesterday that you were parading 8th Avenue with both hands on the brim of your crisp new blue and orange fitted hat. “The Knicks are back,” you said. You weren’t wrong. On that hot July day in 2010, you were the smartest man in Manhattan and the toast of the town.
In absolutely no time at all, you embraced the culture of New York like few before you had ever done. Stephon Marbury couldn’t do it and he was molded here. Eddy Curry couldn’t do it, in spite of this franchise’s long history of proud big men. You, though… You were made to be displayed in The Mecca. You were created in the form of what Knicks fans had anticipated for so long.
With strings of 30-point games and All-Star appearances, you made people care again. You were creating memories for lifelong Knicks enthusiasts and newcomers one 48-minute span at a time. You made a believer out of so many people who thought “The Decision” had decided another decade of mediocrity for a once storied franchise. You brought relevance back to The Garden.
In spite of all that, your return is, for the most part, surrounded with speculation that you won’t mesh with Mike Woodson’s current bunch. At the end of the month, you’ll be greeted by a swarm of mixed reactions, most of which are curious as to whether or not you can coincide with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, who has served as the team’s folk hero (and rightfully so) for the first quarter of the season.
We, though, the tried and the true, know exactly what you bring to this table. You took on the challenge that nobody else wanted that summer less than three years ago. You welcomed the Knicks, and this city, into your life with open arms and, in return, we, the fans, did the same for you. Any basketball enthusiast would be hard-pressed to believe that you would do anything other than help this team toward the ultimate prize.
So, Amar’e, we miss you, and we need you to know it. Winning streaks at home and blow out wins in Miami are great, but they feel incomplete. You’re the one who started this. You made people believe again. Now that the Knicks are officially back, we need you back, too.