Some conspiracy theorists believe the league conspired to bring Patrick Ewing to New York during the initial NBA draft Lottery to ensure the biggest collegiate star play in the media capital of the world. Well if that’s true, it truly was the first and last favorable thing the league has done for New York because time after time. It seems the Knicks have been disciplined exclusively by a zero tolerance league policy. Let’s take a look back at some of the punishments doled out by the league:
1993 Knick/Suns Brawl
In an unprecedented move prior to the 93 playoffs, the league changed their rules regarding fighting after the Knicks PG, Greg Anthony comes off the bench in street clothes to level Phoenix PG, Kevin Johnson. At the time, the brawl was the largest in NBA history, in terms of games suspended and fines levied. Already a high profile franchise, the P.R. black eye, due to the brawl, most definitely influenced many of the zero tolerance disciplinary decisions regarding New York.
1997 Knicks/Heat Brawl
The league showed no mercy suspending five Knickerbockers during the 2nd rd of the Eastern Conference playoffs, which included Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston and John Starks, after coming off the bench in defense of teammate Charlie Ward, who was literally flipped onto his head by Miami PF PJ Brown at the end of game 5. The players themselves were not suspended for further igniting the incident, but rather for leaving the bench. A new rule that had yet to be used but instituted years earlier, due the escalation the bench players added to the Knicks/Suns brawl.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, shorthanded by the suspensions and despite valiant efforts by the remaining players, the Knicks dropped both games 6 & 7 respectively, and watched an undeserving Heat team advance due to the league’s zero tolerance policy. Many experts considered the 97 Knicks team prime to dethrone Chicago.
Camby’s Phantom Punch
After a perceived “dirty” foul by Spurs’ SF Danny Ferry, Knicks C, Marcus Camby attempted revenge goes wrong when he accidentally head butt’s Jeff Van Gundy causing 12-stitches. The league promptly suspends Camby for 5 games and fines him $25,000 for taking a swing. In another example of “zero tolerance”, Camby’s suspension was the longest in league history for a punch that didn’t land.
Honey Nut Cheerios Fiasco
Carmelo Anthony, enraged by a derogatory comment made by Celtics forward Kevin Garnett toward his wife, almost came to blows outside the Celtics team bus after Anthony confronted him about the remark. Although no punches were ever thrown, the league still decided to suspend Carmelo 1 game for merely attempting to have a conversation with an opposing player.
Prohibited Draft Workouts
The league not only targets Knick player infractions but even Knick scouts after fining the organization $200,000 and team scout Rodney Heard $20,000 for conducting illegal draft workouts in violating of league rules in 2011.
J.R. Smith levels Jason Terry
The league suspends J.R. Smith 1 game after his vicious elbow to Celtics SG Jason Terry, almost ignited a brawl during game 3 of the 1st rd series against longtime rival, the Boston Celtics. Although the elbow was unquestionably the wrong thing to do, the league never took into consideration that after his infraction, Smith simply turned away from further confrontation and accepted his ejection. No suspension possibly if he’s wearing any other jersey besides the one with New York on the front?