Stephen A. Smith has a lot of very strong opinions on a lot of things. Nothing, however, gets him going like the chance to talk for several uninterrupted minutes about the New York Knicks, his hometown NBA team which has done nothing but infuriate him over the last however many years.
But things look like they might be turning around in the Big Apple. Despite a recent slide, the Knicks are 42-33 on the year, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Jalen Brunson has been terrific, Julius Randle made it back to the All-Star Game this year, and there is real excitement around the team beyond just this season. And perhaps most importantly, all of it comes after the Knicks tried and failed to acquire Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in the offseason, which is the sort of thing that could have led to New York being a punchline all year with how he’s played in Cleveland.
Having said that, if the regular season ended today, the Knicks would play none other than Mitchell and the Cavaliers in the first round. This has Smith a little concerned, and on Friday’s episode of First Take, he went on quite the rant explaining how he’d be fine with New York losing to literally anyone else in the postseason.
.@stephenasmith is going to LOSE IT if the Knicks lose to the Cavs and Donovan Mitchell if they match up 😭 pic.twitter.com/F9wrOCvfqC
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 24, 2023
“Listen, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Smith said before immediately contradicting and then correcting himself. “And I’ma say it for the last time — dammit, I’m lying, it’s not gonna be the last time I’m gonna say this. Let me tell you something: The New York Knicks, and I don’t care what they’ve done this season, you can lose to Milwaukee, you can lose to Boston, you can lose to Philly. All of that’s understandable and acceptable.
“Christine, Kendrick Perkins knows this: The New York Knicks cannot lose to Donovan Mitchell,” Smith continued. “Donovan Mitchell is who? He was supposed to be in a New York Knicks uniform. His bags were packed, he was looking forward, he was excited, he wasn’t thinking about no damn Cleveland, he wanted to be home in New York. And Leon Rose played possum.”
For the sake of Stephen A. Smith, I hope that the Knicks and the Cavaliers do not play in the postseason this year.