The latest move by the Knicks to pull themselves out of the NBA’s basement involves hiring an advertising executive named Steve Stoute to rebrand the Knicks as cool, not only in the eyes of fans but also for prospective players. (Not coincidentally, this moves comes shortly after Kevin Durant said on New York’s biggest hip-hop station that the Knicks aren’t “cool.”)
It’s another instance of the Knicks putting a Band-Aid on an ax wound. Everyone outside Madison Square Garden knows the reason the Knicks aren’t perceived as cool or an attractive free-agency destination is because their owner is a moron who hires other morons and continues to run the worst organization in the NBA.
But Stoute’s going to change that. He’s going to make the Knicks fun, just like Drake did for the Raptors. He said as much during an interview on ESPN’s First Take.
No offense to Stoute, who seems to be a successful businessman, but the idea of comparing himself to Drake is laughable. Drake is a world-famous musician admired by every player in the NBA and a large segment of fans. Stoute is a guy whose résumé (CEO of a marketing firm, founder of a music streaming agency and author of The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy) appeals to the suits in charge, not the players or fans. But hey, you have to respect him for convincing James Dolan to pay him a bunch of money for his services.
Stoute also implied during that interview that the Knicks were going to fire interim head coach Mike Miller, who has gone 13–19 after David Fizdale started off the season 4–18.
“There had to be a change in [firing team president Steve Mills]. That change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to help develop these younger players,” Stoute said. “And they got some young players—you see RJ Barrett, Mitch Robinson. They got something to work with. And getting a coach in there and ultimately getting a coach and a coaching staff that’s going to help develop a team. That’s what I expect to happen so that we can actually get to what you expect from a New York team.
“Having a coach like that who has the magnitude and gravitas so that the media would love to talk to him and believe him, I think that’s super important.”
But the Knicks are doing no such thing! They were forced to release a statement saying Stoute doesn’t know anything about coaching moves.
Congratulations to the guy charged with improving the Knicks’ public perception on causing a PR disaster on his first day.
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