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Mitchell Robinson Breaks a Lasting Knicks Curse

Robinson's new contract from the Knicks is worth celebrating in more ways than one.

Party like it's 1994, New York.

Alas, there's no potential for a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, and the New York Knicks aren't basking in the glory of an NBA Finals visit. But, upon inking a four-year, $60 million deal with the team, he broke one of the many "curses" surrounding the star-crossed franchise.

Robinson, having arrived as a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, is now the first selected Knick since 1994 to earn a second contract with the team, breaking a 28-year streak of dark draft magic. Back then, the recipient was first-rounder Charlie Ward, who would up playing a decade in New York.

Ward, a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback that made a decision to stick to basketball, is well-regarded in Knicks lore for his deep shooting, leadership, and reliable contributions off the bench. He was a part of the Knicks' most recent run to the Finals in 1999 (holding a starting role that season) and also partook in the prior season's Three-Point Shootout at the All-Star Game festivities held at Madison Square Garden. Ward's New York service ended in 2004 when he was dealt to Phoenix in the deal that brought Stephon Marbury to Manhattan. He played two more seasons between San Antonio and Houston before retiring after the 2004-05 season. 

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Robinson's new contract is worth celebrating in more ways than one: he has been one of the more consistent silver linings in recent Knicks memory, notably setting career-bests in rebounding (8.6 per game) and field goal percentage (.761) after returning from a hand injury that cost him most of the 2020-21 campaign. 

The center is part of an eventful offseason for the Knicks, who also welcomed in Robinson's fellow center Isaiah Hartenstein and point guard Jalen Brunson.