Even from the iron shores of Montego Bay and the congested streets of Kingston, Jamaica, New York City remains on my mind.
As I journeyed from the West end of the island of Jamaica over to the East, and as I have interacted with members of Jamaica’s basketball community and chatted up fans of the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets—yes, they are down here in Jamaica, too—I look forward to what promises to be an exciting NBA season for the city I have called home for so many years.
And here, at SheridanHoops.com, I have had a great home for the past two.
Covering the Knicks, the NBA Finals, drafts and free agency has been great. For as long as I have known of Chris Sheridan—long before I knew him, personally—I appreciated him.
I appreciated the hard-line stances he took with some of his opinions, no matter how zany I thought they were.
I appreciated his candor and honesty when critiquing the work of a young writer who he thought had potential.
And I certainly appreciated his battling the traffic of the Henry Hudson and Grand Central Parkways, driving from Yonkers, New York down to Kew Gardens to sign me on as a writer for the then-infant SheridanHoops.com.
My first work here was a reflection on Glen Grunwald’s bold move to amnesty Chauncey Billups and sign Tyson Chandler.
At the time, I acknowledged that not saving the amnesty clause for Amar’e Stoudemire may be a decision that comes back to bite the Knicks in the long run.
But those pesky Knicks fans would not and could not allow me—some kid whom they had never heard of—dare douse water on the conflagration of hope that Grunwald’s bold maneuver built.
And that is what I appreciate most of all—even more than Chris, himself.
Without the feedback and without the intelligent discourse and dialogue, there is simply no way for a young writer to improve. Our readers make us and our Twitter followers provide an unlimited and ever-present sounding board for random thoughts and observations.
So as I look forward to Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace doing battle with Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez… I can’t help but to think back to when I first began here at SheridanHoops.
The Nets were still in Newark and the Knicks hadn’t won a playoff game in too many years to count.
Now, all hell will break loose for the right to be crowned Atlantic Division champions.
And for those Nets fans beating their chests and acting as if the Nets have already clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference, go have a conversation or two with a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last season’s Lakers debacle taught everyone, including me, that nothing is promised in this league.
Knicks fans, though, would be wise to remember that as well. Last season’s 54-win campaign guarantees nothing for the coming season, especially when one considers that the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers stand to be much better next season.
And while I write this column from sunny Jamaica and ponder the season ahead, I cannot help but to think of what is behind.
Those two great years.
(Moke covered the title-clinching games in 2012 and 2013. Both columns were fantastic. Here is the link to Game 5 of the 2012 Finals, and here is Moke’s column after Game 7 of the 2013 finals-CS).
When Chris initially asked me to write a “farewell” column, it seemed a bit too much. Too dramatic.
As of now, I am a young journalist, ever-seeking the tricks to improve at my craft. I am far from a “big deal,” and my departure probably does not warrant any special emphasis on the site.
Those were my thoughts.
And though I initially opted not to, I realized that the readers of this site deserved a sincere “thank you” from me.
Not on Twitter, but on this site.
A wise friend of mine once told me to follow the breadcrumbs, and Mel, that is what I am doing.
As a professional, and under Chris’ tutelage, that journey began here.
For sure, that is not something I will ever forget.
Thanks Chris. Thanks for taking the courageous step in building this great site, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to interact with a group of readers who represent those that prefer in-depth basketball content.
And thanks to you, the readers, for making this site succeed. And thanks for making me want to.
Moke Hamilton has covered the Knicks, NBA Finals, and free agency for SheridanHoops since the 2011-12 season. He is now moving to HOOPSWORLD, a USA Today Sports property, and will serve as an NBA Analyst for SportsNet New York. Follow him on Twitter.