Crawford Sheds Light to Dismal Season

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: April 14, 2006

NEW YORKMichael Jordan while with the Washington Wizards as General Manager was so enamored with the New York Knicks’ Jamal Crawford (while he was a Bull), he tried to trade for him several times. Each time he was rebuffed by his old employer, Jerry Krauss. So the closest Jordan got to having Crawford on his team was during the summer playing pickup and a workout games at Hoop’s the Gym in Chicago.

Crawford all wiry 6-foot-5 inches of him has been carrying a heavy load these days. That load has been the task of towing the Knicks these past few weeks in scoring and assists. So much so, the League recognized Crawford and honored him with being named, Eastern Conference Player of the Week. He’s the first and only Knick to do so this season.

Not bad for a guy who was notified at the very last minute just before the season’s tip-off in Boston against the Celtics that he was coming off the bench in favor of Quentin Richardson. This was after Crawford started much of last year as the now retired, Allan Houston was hurt and during the pre-season when most players are trying to get acclimated with one another.

To Crawford’s credit, although he may have been hurt or even shell shocked, he never uttered a peep of negativity, unlike several of his teammates. And this is also taking into account the way head coach, Larry Brown juggled him in and out and in and around the line up. Crawford’s motto has always been: “Coach knows what he’s doing. He’s a hall-of-fame coach and I’m sure he’s doing what is best for the team. I just want to grow and learn as much as I can.”

Crawford is starting to do to other teams around the league what he used to do to the Knicks when he was a Chicago Bull along with center Eddy Curry. His crossover dribble is lethal and virtually un-guardable, especially with the way he’s able to create space between himself and the defender and pulls up for a jumper. His exploits has enabled him to hit six game winning shots this season.

Crawford who was also named the Oppenheimer Knicks team Most Valuable Player is really starting to find his stride. He’s learning more of when to pass and when to take over games by scoring the ball. Coach Brown has heaped praise upon Crawford by saying, “Jamal is a good of a kid as you’ll ever find. And he has improved his game more than any other player I have ever coached.” Brown also said of Crawford, “He likes to take the big shot.” Now, whether that was an indirect shot, subliminal shot or a torpedo directed at Stephon Marbury, who was said to have passed on a last second shot recently, one never knows.

The Knicks should take special note to Crawford who undeniably wants to stay in New York and is still growing and learning the game. After all, he only played two years of high school ball at Rainier Beach High School in Renton, Washington and one year at Michigan State before turning pro in 2000, so there are a lot of fundamental things that he may have missed by not staying in college. And because he is so gifted athletically some things came easier for him and no one on the lower levels of basketball stood a chance against him. But, there is no denying his heart, his attention to detail and his talent. You mix that in with his character and his locker-room presence and you have a keeper.