Knick Fans: Tim Deserves Cheers, Not, Jeers

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: November 27, 2004

Tim Thomas

NEW YORK,NY – Sometimes when we of a puny stature (myself included) or media types (also guilty as charged) or fans (okay, okay, I’m also in that overflowing number) see athletes much bigger than the average person, ala 6 feet 10 inches tall and 240 pounds, we tend to root for them in ways that can be considered unfair, inconsiderate and unjust. What I think we do is attempt to impose our own iron-clad will unto what we suppose should be the way they should be performing.

And that way is of a ferocious and highly intense nature. For instance, if you’re that tall and you’re under the basket, fans feel that the ball should be dunked or flushed with reckless abandon at all times. In other words it should be a ‘rim rocker’. Or if there’s an open shot, the shot should not only just go in, but it should ‘swish’ in and not drop in lazily after flirting around the rim and backboard for several seconds.

Let’s face it, for every Shaq there’s a Brad Sellers. For every Wilt Chamberlain there’s a Charles Smith; a friendly foe that becomes lightening rod of epic proposition. For the gentlemen listed in the latter, fans are a lot less sympathetic when it comes to a shot being missed or if an opponent scores on them. Fans will show their lack of appreciation by booing and calling names that are very unpleasant to say the least. And this is without regard to whether a lady or a child is within earshot.

The New York Knicks’ starting small forward Tim Thomas is no Shaq but he’s certainly no Brad Sellers either. What Thomas is, is a 6 foot 10 inch multi-dimensional and multi-faceted player when he’s on his game. Judging from his past from his high school days at Paterson Catholic in Paterson, New Jersey and his one year stint at the University of Villanova, he’s been on his game more often than not. And that speaks volumes. But most importantly, the thing that Tim Thomas is is a man. And that is something that cries louder than dunks, jump-shots, passes or rebounds could ever do.

After the Knicks were eliminated from the Playoffs by the New Jersey Nets in four games to which Tim missed the last three due to a nasty spill suffered by a hard foul by Nets center Jason Collins, his summer became even more challenging.

Tim not only had to heal from a bad back, a bad ankle and other body parts that were sore, but more tragically he lost his dear sister due to a stroke, then three days after that, a cousin of his perished in a motorcycle accident. He had to attend two funerals in less than a week’s time. And recently his mother had to undergo an operation.

That’s a heavy burden for anyone to struggle with; rich or poor, short or tall. Now, Tim and his lovely wife are being counted upon to raise his sister’s two children she left behind. Sure he’s rich and he’s young and full of energy and all, but there will be times when the questions will be asked to him by his niece and nephew, “where’s mommy? When is she coming home?”

To Tim’s credit, he never makes excuses for his sporadic and inconsistent play. He and his family no doubt hear the boos and unpleasant remarks coming from the home town fans. Tim, like a man keeps smiling and tries to stay positive in the midst of it all.

That alone “Knicks fans”, calls for a show of support not boos. Let’s learn to cheer the home town hero, not boo him.