In the summer of 2000, the Knicks were one of the league’s best teams, having made the NBA Finals just a season before.
With enough cap room to sign a star, the Knicks sought out the perfect teammate capable of helping (future Hall of Famer) Patrick Ewing reach the Finals once again.
The team took an elaborate approach towards one of the league’s best players, and clearly the best available one that summer, Grant Hill.
Hill was wined and dined, given a jersey in orange and blue with his name on it, and wooed by New York City celebrities such as Matthew Modine, Peter Boyle, Chazz Palminteri and Michael Imperioli.
That effort obviously fell short, as Hill signed with the Magic that summer instead. The Knicks traded Ewing just a couple months later and began what has ultimately turned out to be a ten year rebuilding effort.
The team is in a similar, yet much more desperate position this summer, with a boatload of cap room and multiple marquee free agents available.
Of course, catching bigger fish requires even bigger bait, which is why the Knicks have formally announced a star-studded celebrity panel to assist in the all-important recruitment of this year’s dazzling free agents, most notably, LeBron James.
The panel, which is expected to rapidly grow as needed, is already reported to include A-list celebs who have graced Madison Square Garden’s front row for years.
Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan, and Donald Trump are all preparing to meet the potential Knicks.
Various New York Sports heroes, such as John McEnroe and Super Bowl champion Phil Simms are also expected to play a part in the recruiting effort, while former Knicks Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe, and Stanley Cup champion (with the Rangers) Mark Messier are all sure to sing praises about what it really feels like to play in “the world’s most famous arena.”
The group is expected to meet with many free agents, but some are already focusing on one player in particular.
Referring to Lebron James, Chris Rock has his own pitch already planned, telling The New York Post, “You really want to live in Cleveland? That’s what I would tell him. Where do you want to live?”
The celebrities assembled are some of the most famous in the world, let alone in New York City. However, it’s none other than “The Donald” who is the city’s ultimate tour guide.
“He would take over the city,” said Trump. “I am in many different cities, but I can tell you, LeBron, there is only one New York,” Trump offered.
Let’s hope this celebrity “cast” also remembers that LeBron wants “a running mate” too!
And while New York City Mayor Bloomberg has not been named on the official roster, he has already gotten involved.