Media Paranoia Resurfaces in Knicks-land

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Towards the end of 2007, a story titled “Life in Knicks Hell” was published by the New York Observer. It detailed what an absolutely miserable time reporters had trying to cover the Knicks during the Isiah Era.

Under Donnie Walsh’s leadership, things were supposed to be different for the Knicks and the people who write about them for a living. And for the most part, they seem to be.

But with the Larry Hughes fiasco unfolding, there are rumblings that the old cloak and dagger media philosophy is rearing its ugly head again.

Frank Isola of the Daily News reports:

“There’s frustration,” Hughes said. “There’s no anger. I’m just frustrated. There’s no other way to put it. I want to be out there playing and helping the team win. I don’t want it to look like I’m complaining. He’s the coach of the team. It’s his decision to put guys in the game and to take guys out. If my time comes again I’ll be happy. But if not I’ll just continue to do what I’ve been doing. But at the same time I’ll still be frustrated because I want to play basketball.”

As Hughes spoke to reporters before the Knicks win over Detroit, he was being monitored by three media relations employees. That type of paranoia was once the exclusive property of Latrell Sprewell and later Stephon Marbury when they played in New York. Hughes also revealed that he was upset by reports that he didn’t attend practice. Hughes never read the accounts and claims that a Knicks media employee debriefed him that both reporters who attended Sunday’s practice wrote that Hughes wasn’t there. Of course, that is a flat out lie.

The Daily News, one of two papers represented at Sunday’s workout, did not report that Hughes skipped the workout. Instead what we have here is additional proof that the media policy that Donnie Walsh promised to revamp is not only alive but also as creepy and as sneaky as ever.

Isola once joked about having to look under his car before turning the ignition because relations were that contentious between media and the Knicks.

Things aren’t as bad as they used to be, but like the team itself, they seem to have only marginally improved.