NY Knicks What If? May 1999

One of my favorite comic series was (is? Do they still print it?) Marvel’s What If? A different writer each month would take an event from Marvel history, change it, and explore the consequences–what if Professor X became the Juggernaut instead of his brother? What if Kraven the Hunter had killed Spider-Man, or Wolverine had killed the Hulk?


History tells us now that if the 8th-seeded Knicks had been eliminated in the 1st round by Miami in 1999, the Knicks were in talks to fire Jeff Van Gundy and replace him with Phil Jackson. As we all know, that didn’t happen, because this glorious, wonderful, I-injured-myself-celebrating-this-moment moment happened:


The Knicks went on to beat the worst-2nd-round-team-ever Hawks and the Pacers before all their big men died and they lost to the Spurs in the Finals. The next year, there was one more glory day against Miami:

The next summer, Patrick Ewing was traded for negative cap space. It’d be 13 years before the Knicks won another playoff series.

So, what if Houston’s shot had rimmed out, and the Knicks had hired Phil? Would you trade the memory and the righteousness that came with beating Miami two more times for what Big Chief Triangle may have done with the Knicks?

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