The 2012-13 NBA season is about to tip off and James Dolan has a lot invested in the revamped New York Knicks roster and MSG Network, the RSN home to the club.
The RSN, last Thursday, assembled its on-air talent at Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine, the West Side eatery owned by the man, Dan Ronayne, executive vice president and general manager of MSG Networks, called the most famous Knick of them all, Walt Frazier. Just for those who want to know, MSGN’s Knicks game analyst and sartorial provocateur sported a black and white leather jacket, brandished with hanging buckskin that may or may not have been purchased at the Bellagio in Vegas -- and complementary-colored striped shoes.
Ronayne rounded the table (two actually), introducing familiar and new faces, notably Cold Spring Harbor’s own Wally Szczerbiak, the 10-year-NBAer, the sixth pick in the 1999 NBA draft. Szczerbiak, who continued to work for CBS Sports Network, is now working the studio for MSGN, succeeding Kelly Tripucka.
Longtime MSGN stalawart Trautwig then elicited comments relevant to the participants’ beats:
*Courtside reporter Tina Cervazio said Jason Kidd is her go-to person for Xs and Os, and analysis of opposing players and teams – if not as a designated driver in the Hamptons – as she can get “six different stories out of one question” from the point guard.
*Alan Hahn, the former Newsday Knicks beat writer and now studio analyst, concurred with Cervasio, noting that the 39-year-old JKidd has “knowledge most coaches don’t have.”
*Feature reporter Jill Martin, who cited Kevin Bacon’s Footloose reenactment as her favorite “New York Minute” half-time interview segment, is again endeavoring to get Woody Allen to sit courtside next to Spike Lee.
*Analyst Brendan Brown addressed the Knicks’ injuries and tough schedule through mid-December, and how when Iman Shumpert returns the coaching staff is going to have establish a nine-man rotation from “13 guys who could be playing regularly in the NBA.”
*Lead radio play-by-play guy and occasional Breen TV sub Spero Dedes mused about making a “championship call” for the Knicks and likened the atmosphere at the “world’s most famous arena” to “the crazy times out there” during his time calling LA Lakers games.
When yours truly posed a question about the team from Brooklyn, Hahn joked, ‘Who, the Islanders?’
The proprietor stepped to the line, calling the Nets’ arrival in the NYC’s largest borough “good for the game. The Brooklyn fans were talking trash to the Knicks fans.The rivalry is great for the fans,” said Clyde, who noted it “spilled over to the players” during the teams’ overtime game at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 24, the day the NHL franchise said it would be relocating to the Barclays Center, starting with the 2015-16 season (who knows, the puck freezeout might be over by then).
Trautwig also stirred the pot by trying to drum up a one-on-one battle between Szczerbiak and Hahn, who played ball at C.W. Post before injuring a knee (the New York press also has been calling for this matchup), saying the two wouldn’t be “carpooling to Long Island tonight.” Clyde chimed in saying, “they can settle it right now” on the half-court in the restaurant. Talk then turned to pay-per-view and charity.
To that end, here are some suggested matchups for an expanded basketball battle between the boroughs and RSNs. MSGN’s on-air team of Clyde and Breen versus YES’s Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel; Ronayne against YES topper Tracy Dolgin; and in a hardwood battle royale between RSN communications execs, MSGN's Dan Schoenberg against YES’s Eric Handler.
The PPV b-ball is now in your court, Bob Benya, and in demand – at least among a few.