Blogs, Media, Knicks & Street Food
Meet Tommy Dee.
by Matt Lawyue / @mlawyue
A while back I ran a Q & A with Newsday’s Knicks beat writer. We covered life as a reporter. But in our day-and-age, it’s been the rise of the blogger. Everybody blogs. I do, you do and everybody else you know. A massively popular topic is sports, especially in New York where, despite what you may hear, basketball still runs deep. It’s hard to distinguish yourself as a blogger, but one man on the Knicks scene has. I caught up with SNY’s Knicks blogger, Tommy Dee, who runs The Knicks Blog.
SLAM: You run the Knicks blog for SportsNet New York (SNY). How did you start doing this and what were you doing before you undertook this?
Tommy Dee: I’ve been a lifelong Knicks fan and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of writing online because it didn’t restrict me and I could do my own thoughts and really be candid and talk about the Knicks. Obviously since the turn of the century they’ve been really wretched and it was a platform for me to go out and vent a lot of frustration. I was working at Golf Magazine and I ended up with a blog called “Hot Foot” where I did some Mets writing. That got me connected (with SNY) and reached out and said if you have anybody in mind I’d like to be considered to do one (a blog) for the Knicks and we sat down and a couple days later and I was doing the Knicks blog a couple weeks later.
SLAM: And when was this?
TD: This was April of 2008. We (SNY) had just turned three. To me, it’s a great hobby for anybody to have and to write and to blog. I enjoy most reaching out to fans. I guess that’s what bloggers are, they are so few who can actually do it professionally because you don’t make a lot of money off of it. To be able to rally some fans around the team and give them a voice is kind of what The Knicks Blog is about.
SLAM: The whole Internet, everybody’s got an opinion so how have you made The Knicks Blog stand out amongst a lot of the Internet noise?
TD: I think because I can relate to a lot of different people, a lot of different fans. I have people who write me all the time. I didn’t grow up watching the ’70′s teams, but I grew up with Bernard King and he was somebody who people really related to. Michael Ray Richardson was somebody people related to. I just learned about the history and the tradition of those early ’70s Knicks teams and even before that, that even the guys born in the ’40s and ’50s maybe not completely 100 percent in love with the Internet can at least relate to me because I feel that relates to them. The younger people, I feel their pain. It’s the only team I’ve never seen win a championship. As a Knicks fan I’m obviously a Rangers fan, a Giants fan and a Mets fan. I’ve seen championships for those other teams but not the Knicks. There’s always that sense of, kind of what the Rangers had to go through in ’94, that sense of “OK, when’s it going to be our turn?” and I think the young fan kind of gets that part of it.
SLAM: And you strictly consider yourself a blogger and not a reporter? A lot of bloggers out there think just because they have a medium to share their thoughts that they’re a reporter and breaking news, but it’s a line that has to be distinguished between blogging and doing what the reporters do. It seems you’ve done that very well and your readers understand that. Was that something you knew inherently when you started blogging?
TD: I appreciate that. I do have general journalistic background. I do understand the importance of reporting and sources. From a blogger’s standpoint, people try to say “hey, this guy doesn’t have any sources” when in fact I trust and feel very comfortable with some of the information I’ve been able to acquire. With that being said, I respect the experience of what it means to cover a beat. I’ve got a ton of respect for what they do. You’re right, there has to be a line. I would much prefer being a fan who can get some access and can do a little bit of reporting, but really be more a voice for the fans than necessarily being known as a beat writer.
SLAM: Let’s get a little Knicks in here as the season is winding down today. What do you expect (GM) Walsh to do this summer?
TD: I know and feel very comfortable having being able to deal with Donnie Walsh and sit down and talk to him, I think fans should be very comfortable that he’s very calculated and knows what he’s doing from a plan standpoint. We know what Plan A is. The table has been set for LeBron to come to New York. I think LeBron’s smart enough to understand that moving forward he really has the opportunity here to build an entire roster over the next five years. If LeBron decides to stay, I really think they’ll add one piece this year and they’re ready to pounce in a lot of different directions. We’ll just have to see what happens once LeBron decides what he wants to do.
SLAM: One of the Knicks everybody’s talked about this year, I mean everybody’s been debating him since he came here, is David Lee. What do you expect him to do and do you think that because he was on a bad team playing in a Mike D’Antoni offense that his stats are inflated and do you think he would be able to produce as a starter or as a 6th man off the bench for a stronger squad?
TD: I think Lee is a 25 to 30 minute player on a really good team. Offensively he’s very talented. D’Antoni’s put him in a situation where he can succeed and beat guys off the dribble and he can run the pick and roll very well. Defensively, his problem is athletically he can’t match up with a lot of fours and physically can’t match up with a lot of fives. He’s the guy that doesn’t have a position on defense. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a guy who you have to support defensively. From a financial standpoint, if Lee wants to sign for eight or nine million a year and give them practicality that’s an option. But if he’s going to ask for ten, 11 or 12, I can’t see the Knicks interested in bringing him back.
SLAM: What do you make of Gallinari’s progression this year?
TD: I think Gallinari has had a tremendous year. He’s had some time where he’s definitely faded, taken too many jump shots and a little off. But when you think about going into the year, people didn’t think he was going to be healthy. Those conversations about his durability are over. Nobody’s talking about that at all. He’s played an entire season and he averaged 33 minutes a game so we have to be very excited about that. He’s shown his ability to take over games in the fourth quarter and he wants the match-ups. He wanted Carmelo and wanted to guard Dwyane Wade. He wants them and I think that’s a great thing from a fan perspective.
SLAM: I know it’s going to be a little tough, but reach back and tell me what you’re favorite Knicks memory is.
TD: The easy one’s are the Allan Houston jumper, Bernard King scoring a million points on Christmas Day, Ewing’s put-back against the Bulls. I’m going back to ’97 Playoffs against the Heat. I remember I was at Georgetown at a bar and I hated the Heat. I hated the Heat more than I hated the Pacers. (Ditto) They weren’t that good, but they had the swagger. Chris Childs brought the ball in the lane. It’s a little known memory for a lot of Knicks fans because it went off the back rim and it went to half court, but Chris Childs, who was this little dude who had a lot of toughness, tried to dunk it on Alonzo Mourning’s head. Stuff like that stand out to me, I’m a little off that way.
SLAM: This is the last thing, I know we tweeted about this very briefly, but I just want you to let people know how good the chicken and rice stand on 53rd and 6th really is.
TD: Ohhhhhhh. You’re talking about chicken and rice on 53rd, to me, is as good as anything in this city. I’m a street food connoisseur. Without question, the jerk chicken from the cart on 53rd is…is…if you haven’t had that experience you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Knickled & Dimed List
-Bloggers who don’t know their role
-Starting line-up against the Wiz Monday night: Chris Duhon, Bill Walker, Earl Barron, David Lee, Danilo Gallinari