Is Amar’e Stoudemire Overexposed

Walt Frazier was the coolest cat that basketball had ever seen.

There was nothing like the New York Knicks in 1973. That championship season was their crowning glory and it has been a challenge for the team to regain that stature. Back then, we had the ever-cool Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the star guard, who had captured the hearts and minds of every New Yorker on and off the court. His sense of style was impeccable: Pimp meets Saville Row. The media loved him, yet he was never overexposed. It was always basketball first. Success off the court was due to his success on the court. Once the Knicks won that championship, as they did in 1970, they were invincible and commanded utmost respect where ever they went. I’ll never forget that one afternoon in Swan Lake (upstate New York) in the summer of 1970, buying penny candy in the local gas station, when all of a sudden a Rolls Royce pulled up and out stepped Walt Frazier, smooth as silk, fiercely dressed, alone, pumping gas. What was Superfly doing in the Borscht Belt? He was the epicenter of cool, we were plotzing,…when in Rome.

Amar'e is cute and all, but he ain't no Clyde.

As for Amar’e, Lord knows since he has blown into town, the media has propped him up to superstar status. Anna Wintour has taken him under her wing, Hamish Bowles giggled through an on-court interview with him in Vogue, he’s been linked with Ciara and Rachel Roy and Amar’e are collaborating on a new fashion collection for Macy’s. Yes, we can now add Mr. Stoudmire to the growing list of celebrity fashion designers. There was a time when athletes were in the midst of their season, that they did nothing but eat, drink, breathe and live their sport. No fraternizing, no alcohol, just hoops and dreams. That was when we lavished praise on winners of championships. Now, in our tragic need for instant gratification, we have jettisoned Amar’e into the glare of the media and now, on the eve of the last possible game of the season, with New York about to be creamed, his back injury may keep him out of the potentially final game. “Look, man, I feel your pain, nothing that three Percocet can’t cure.” However, pardon me while I hold off on cooing or bestowing honors and throwing flowers at Amar’e’s feet, at least not until he and the Knicks take another big win, circa 1973.

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