John Starks
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The pre-NBA draft offseason can be long for New York Knicks fans, so here are some fun videos to binge until next season!

This is probably the hardest time to be a New York Knicks fan.

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing. Steph Curry and Damian Lillard are hitting threes like they’re playing on Rookie mode. James Harden is doing disgusting things on the court, per usual.

LeBron James, believe it or not, is out of the playoffs this year, but he at least has the golf course and other projects.

Most Knicks fans, however, do not have that luxury. No, instead of the golf course, we get Garbage Day when it’s 92 degrees with 80% humidity. Instead of a family vacation to Hawaii or Europe, we might get a trip to the Jersey Shore.

Even worse, the New York City area is now in that weird spring transitionary phase. You know, when it’s warm enough to wear shorts, but take a sweater if you go out.

That means Knicks fans, at least from a basketball standpoint, could use some entertainment.

Our team may not be playing now, but plenty of highlights are available on YouTube.

Thus, if you’re looking for a Knicks fix ahead of June’s draft, these videos should do the job!

Honorable Mention: Lin owns the Lakers

Ah, Linsanity, two weeks which will always make even the saddest Knicks fan smile. A rash of injuries led then-coach Mike D’Antoni to put Harvard grad Jeremy Lin, who averaged 9.8 minutes per game the year before, on the court against the then-New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, 2012.

The rest, as they say, is history. Lin averaged 24.6 points over his next ten games as New York went 8-2 over that stretch and Lin became a household name.

The highlight of that run, however, came against the dangerous Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 10. Against future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, Lin dropped 38 points with seven assists as the Knicks won 92-85.

Linsanity ended almost as soon as it began but if Knicks fans want a smile, watching Lin torch the Lakers will do in a pinch.

No. 5: David Lee tips it in

Dateline: Madison Square Garden, Dec. 20, 2006. Silver bells are ringing as the Christmas spirit sweeps through New York City. In two days, Sylvester Stallone will hit theaters as Rocky Balboa, once again, refuses to let something die.

The Knicks, meanwhile, are 10-17 and suffering through the worst of the Isiah Thomas years. Hopefully, a visit from the even sorrier Charlotte Bobcats will bring some holiday cheer to MSG.

It took a while, but fans got their wish on this night. Charlotte put up a great fight and forced two overtimes. In the second OT, a cruel twist of fate had New York inbounding the ball with 0.1 seconds left and the score tied 109-109.

Enter David Lee, a second-year player who established himself as a dominant rebounder this season. Off the inbounds pass, thanks to the Trent Tucker rule, the ball was lobbed towards the basket. Lee then channeled his inner Superman and rose above Emeka Okafor for the desperate tip-in attempt.

Well, it worked. The basket was ruled good as Lee capped his night with 10 points and 19 rebounds. New York only won 33 games that season, but this was definitely one of the high points.

No. 4: Mario Hezonja blocks LeBron

LeBron James is a player Knicks fans love to hate. The man infamously snubbed New York to join the Miami Heat as a free agent in 2010, and the fans have never really forgiven him for it.

The Knicks have gotten one back on LeBron several times since “The Decision,” but this one was sweeter than usual. New York was up a point versus the future Hall of Famer’s Los Angeles Lakers on March 17. With seconds to go, James brought the ball up the court and started driving to the basket for what would have been a game-winning shot.

Well, folks, Mario Hezonja had other ideas as he blocked the shot and sealed the 124-123 win.

Dunking on LeBron is one thing, folks, but flat out denying him the chance to win the game tastes sweeter than a slice of Junior’s cheesecake.

No. 3: J.R. Smith dunks on LeBron

When Knicks fans weren’t criticizing J.R. Smith, they were singing his praises. As New York got manhandled by the Miami Heat in the 2012 playoffs, it was oddly the latter case.

The Knicks were trailing by ten and banged up from a lockout-shortened campaign marred by drama. D’Antoni resigned midseason and was replaced by Mike Woodson, who began the turnaround. Making the playoffs was nice, but nobody was expecting much.

Smith, in all his streaky glory, gave us a memory for the ages when he drove the lane and not only dunked on LeBron but also showboated with it. It was a generally meaningless game, but the Knicks taking LeBron James down a few notches is always entertaining!

No. 2: Allan Houston's game-winner

The New York Knicks-Miami Heat rivalry doesn’t get nearly enough respect. Growing up as a basketball fan in the 1990s, it was on the same level as when the New York Yankees played the Boston Red Sox. These games would be clinics in East Coast defense, and Heat coach Pat Riley famously quitting as Knicks’ coach via fax was more fuel on the fire.

Thus, when Miami emerged as the top seed in the Eastern Conference in 1999, the No. 8 seed Knicks were determined to put up a good fight. Sure enough, both teams split the first four games of a best-of-five series, with the decisive Game 5 to be played in Miami.

It was a hard-fought defensive contest, and the Knicks trailed 77-76 with 4.5 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Receiving the inbounds pass from Charlie Ward, star guard Allan Houston put up a little floater in the lane. By nothing short of a miracle, it bounced through to put the Knicks up 78-77 with 0.8 seconds remaining.

What followed was a playoff run for the ages as New York made it all the way to the NBA Finals. The Knicks lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games, but fans still talk about Houston’s shot to this day.

No. 1: The Dunk

Every Knicks fan remembers where they were when this happened. It was the perfect expression of fans’ ongoing frustration with being a great enough team to make the playoffs, only to lose to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls at some point.

That happened again in 1993, but John Starks left his mark on the rivalry in Game 2 of the East Finals. With New York up 91-88 with less than a minute to go, he drove the lane and unleashed a thunderous dunk on both Jordan and Horace Grant.

Why was this one random dunk so memorable? Easy, folks. In the 1990s, dunking on Jordan was the equivalent of doing the same on LeBron James today.

It was a fleeting moment, but one which fans will always remember.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.