HARLEM, NEW YORK — Add Wyclef Jean to the list of this summer’s optimistic Knicks fans.
Jean, a Grammy Award-winning musician known for his hit song “Killing Me Softly,” had only praise for New York’s level of activity this off-season.
“I like what they did this summer,” Jean told Elite Sports NY before Thursday’s Sprayground Battleground basketball event at New York’s Rucker Park. “But I really love the Knicks so every year I think it’s their year.”
Team president Phil Jackson pressed the reset button this off-season after New York won just 49 games over the past two seasons. Jackson traded for former Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, then signed Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah in free agency.
Rose has been riddled with injuries, however, since his MVP season, but Jean believes he’ll be back to the dominant point guard he once was.
“Rose is coming back to his old self,” he said. “Believe that. Definitely.”
Jean, whose Knicks fandom appeared in the 1997 song “Anything Can Happen,” has followed New York’s ups and downs since the mid-1980’s. In the song, he sings “Will the Knicks win the championship this year? Say what! Say what! Anything can happen!”
Unfortunately, New York fell in the Conference Semifinals that season and went on to lose to San Antonio in the 1999 NBA Finals.
The Knicks haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since 2000.
“I’m just a fan, you know what I mean?” he told Elite Sports NY. “The Knicks got their struggles like every team, and we (fans) constantly pray for the bounce-back.”
Among the other Knicks storylines heading into the season, Carmelo Anthony has also garnered national attention for his level of social activism.
In the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers across the nation, Anthony held a Town Hall meeting at a South Los Angeles youth center in July to help ease the tension between police and the community.
“Melo is the truth. It’s important that you use your art to move people,” Jean said. “So when you’re not scared about your endorsements, your deals, your situation and you speak out for the truth; you the man.”