Newspaper article International New York Times

Thinking of Success, and Not Broken Hearts

Newspaper article International New York Times

Thinking of Success, and Not Broken Hearts

Article excerpt

Even after being burned again and again, Knicks fans quite possibly burst into applause as Phil Jackson was introduced as the team's president.

Phil Jackson made the task of turning around a moribund franchise sound so easy.

On stage Tuesday with the orange-and-blue Knicks logo looming behind him, all 6 feet 8 inches of him looked calm and full of confidence as he was introduced as the team's new president. Looking trim in a dark suit, he spoke casually, without notes, and said his goal was to reignite the city's love for the Knicks, a 1970s feeling he remembers fondly, and recreate a close-knit team that plays well and wins titles.

But in time, he said. It will take time.

At that very moment it was nearly impossible not to glance at James L. Dolan, the impatient, often impetuous Knicks owner who sat on the stage to Jackson's right. Shoulders slumped and jacket gaping open, Dolan looked every bit Jackson's opposite on Tuesday.

Dolan spoke first, reading from a sheet of paper as he welcomed back Jackson, who won two championships with the Knicks in the 1970s. He awkwardly joked that Jackson would let him play if the team were ahead by more than 30 points. At one point, he laughed and dropped the line "if this doesn't go well" when he was talking about their new partnership. Which was not exactly funny, considering things haven't gone well for the Knicks basically since Dolan took over 15 years ago.

The bright spot was that Dolan appeared to have already embraced the role of sidekick to Jackson, the sheriff who has come to right this aimless team. Let us all hope that those roles remain that way.

On Tuesday, even after being burned by Dolan and his team again and again, Knicks fans all across the city quite possibly burst into applause.

In his first news conference in more than seven years, Dolan said he was relieved to hand over control to Jackson because he was "by no means an expert in basketball. …

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