The NBA has no restrictions on audio recording equipment in the arena. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Rob Mahoney
Every professional sport operates in its own sphere of insanity. There are things that go on at the game's edges that simply wouldn't make any sense in any other context, and yet within the framing of the game are either understood or expected. Players get deeply offended when their victorious opponents score at the end of a game that's already been decided. Some squabble with their coaches or teammates over the pettiest of problems. Superstitions are assumed, a lack of perspective is implied and hilarity is inevitable.
Within the weird world of pro basketball is an even stranger subset of oddity, reserved for that much-scrutinized team doing business in the sport's alleged mecca. The Knicks are forever on their own plane of absurdity, as James Dolan and those he employs find ways to outdo themselves year after year. The latest: In response to some trash talk between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony in a game last week, Dolan tasked a few MSG employees with recording all that was said by and said to Anthony on the floor.
That bit of news was first reported by Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger
, and has since been confirmed by ESPN New York
. The New York Post
actually has a photo of one of the creeping sound technicians
, adding another layer of lunacy to an already outrageous story. No franchise in sports knows how to make a big deal out of a non-issue like the Knicks, and in this case Dolan has made the fact that Anthony heard some words he didn't like as an occasion to record his star's every on-court utterance. It's an incredibly disproportionate response to a subplot that otherwise would have had its turn in the news cycle before being swept under the rug. There are sensitive and volatile players across the league, but Anthony is apparently the only one that demands careful on-court monitoring -- or at least the only player with an owner foolish enough to see trash talk-induced psychological damage as a problem worthy of the organization's time and resources.