Marcus Morris, Duke, UConn
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Writing about the New York Knicks isn’t always easy and caring about sports can make anyone a little bit crazy, but it can be therapeutic.

Chip Murphy

I thought writing about why I haven’t been writing would help me get some words on the page. I’ve always admired the writers who can write about their personal lives. It’s never been easy for me, so I’ve tried to avoid it as much as I can. 

But I just turned 31 years old, and a few things happened that made me want to open up in my writing at least. I’ve had epilepsy for the majority of my life, but I’m still not used to some of the baggage that comes with it. 

I hate the medication I have to take. I hate not being able to drink with my friends. I hate being afraid that I could have a seizure in public. I hate that it’s classified as a disability on job applications when it isn’t one. 

It sucks. But EEG exams really suck. 

I made the mistake of scheduling an EEG on Feb. 5—the day before the NBA trade deadline—meaning I’d be without my phone for almost an entire hour. I was stressed out. The New York Knicks were sure to be sellers.

What if Marcus Morris gets traded while I’m in the room? Screw that!

Like many NBA fans, my life was upended during trade deadline week. My iPhone’s screen time data claimed I used Twitter for three hours on deadline day, but it felt like more.

Every time my phone lit up, my eyes darted away from whatever I was doing. I was entrenched in every rumor, tweet, and five best fits/likeliest scenarios article I could find. 

But I went through all that trouble for nothing. I got through the exam, and as you probably remember, nothing happened the day before the deadline. 

I’ve always been irrational about sports. I admit that.

When Duke lost to UCONN in the 2004 Final Four, I threw my phone against the wall. It really killed the mood of the party. In my admittedly dumb fan brain, I expected them to win the National Championship every year. They always had the best players, so why not?

(I’m not quite that stupid anymore. I know Coach K isn’t the coach he used to be, and getting the No. 1 recruiting class of all time shouldn’t just equal a title. But it’s hard to watch what Zion Williamson is doing now and just… deep breath… OK, maybe I’m not over last year yet.)

I never had that problem with my Knicks. I have always expected the Knicks to lose and hoped for them to win. Sometimes I feel like Randy Quaid in Major League, but instead of yelling nonsense from the bleachers, I tweet nonsense from my couch.

But I haven’t always been such a cynic about my Knicks.

One of the earliest sports memories I have is watching the 1999 NBA Finals. The first jersey I ever owned was Allan Houston’s No. 20. I still have it to this day. It hasn’t always been bad!

Over the years, failure, drama, dysfunction, and mismanagement have become a franchise signature, and now it’s hard for me to believe anything good will happen to this team. As much as I like the young core of this year’s squad, I still have my doubts.

(I know all this might seem like 10 Knicks Twitter fights ago, but please bear with me.)

That brings us to my most recent bombardment of Quad-like nonsense, which centered around the trade deadline.

When I saw the Woj bomb that Leon Rose was going to be the next Knicks president, I had an anxiety attack. I went into the heavy breathing and all that jazz. I’m surprised no one noticed me.

Unfortunately, I was at work—I’m a paraprofessional—so I bolted out of the class and threw some water on my face. It wasn’t my first attack, and it won’t be my last, but it was my first concerning something as trivial as a possible James Dolan misstep.

Once I settled down, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I fired off around eight tweets in under 2 minutes. One of them even said that Dolan had given me an anxiety attack.

(I know it was probably the most 2020 anxiety attack in history, but it was mine dammit. I even deleted all the tweets like a celebrity on an apology tour.)

I wanted to write about what happened. That was my first thought. I couldn’t tell anyone because it’s insane behavior to have an anxiety attack about a basketball team. I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know if I could anymore.

When I started writing for Elite Sports NY in 2015, blogging was fun. I wanted to do it every day. Then something happened about a year and a half ago—I honestly can’t tell you exactly what it was to this day—that made me view it differently. 

I was obsessed with word counts, views, and Googling “New York Knicks” every time I published something. Staring at the blank page on WordPress was routine. I know that sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. I love doing podcasts, but I’ve always considered myself a writer first. 

I went back and read some of my old work and doubted whether or not I should be doing this at all. I tried everything to get myself back into writing. I used medication, music, podcasts, and nothing worked. 

(I have always had trouble concentrating. While I was writing this, I was distracted three times that I can remember: Dion Waiters being cut by the Grizzlies, Hopper being alive, and a Zoe Kravitz show on Hulu. I recommend it, but are we really supposed to believe that many people would reject Zoe Kravitz? Come on.)

But my birthday was a wakeup call.  I was in the same spot last year, and I don’t want to be here again in 2021. 

I needed to sit down and write with no distractions. As I was writing this, I realized that maybe I don’t need to beat you over the head with the importance of a player’s net rating for 800 words in every single thing I write.

Because as much as I love the NBA and the Knicks, there are far more important things in life than basketball. Another cliche I know, but it works for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Come on… I had to get one dig at the Nets in there.

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