For surprising Knicks, it's an age-old question
THIS SEASON'S unexpected, undefeated-for-a-while New York Knicks are the oldest team in NBA history.
They have the league's oldest player, 40-year-old Kurt Thomas.
They have the league's oldest point guard, soon-to-be-40 Jason Kidd.
They have the league's oldest rookie, 35-year-old Pablo Prigioni.
They have two 38-year-olds, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, who have more collective wear and them on them than the Michelins on Willie Nelson's tour bus.
They reportedly even made an offer to Willis Reed, but the bad right thigh that limited him to 27 minutes in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals apparently hasn't healed yet.
(Actually, the Knicks aren't the oldest basketball team on Broadway. The Harlem Globetrotters - technically, another high-profile New York-based hoops troupe - still have 42-year-old Wun "The Shot" Versher and 41-year-old Kris "Hi-Lite" Bruton. I believe Curly Neal, 70, has retired.)
The Knicks are not just NBA-record aged - according to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the second-oldest assemblage in athletic history, only surpassed by Julius Caesar's silver-armored gladiator team in 58 BC. And - not to alarm anyone on this season's Knicks - it should be noted that many of Caesar's charges died during that historic gladiatorial season.
The Knicks have a new promotion this year: Old Timers Night every night!!!
The Knicks are so old, when they practice, they play Wii basketball.
The ball boy no longer rolls out the basketballs when practice begins because no one can reach down to get them.
Weekday Knicks practices run only 45 minutes, partly for cardiovascular reasons, partly to allow Tyson Chandler to watch "Dr. Phil."
As a physical precaution, the Knicks have replaced the layup drill with video poker.
The Knicks no longer run the pick-and-roll because nobody is fit enough to pick or roll.
I saw a Knicks offensive set the other night - it resembled Aisle 6 at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
When the Knicks run a 3-on-2 fast break, two of their three are in motorized wheelchairs.
(All right, I'm exhausted, folks. But I'm here all week - two shows nightly; $1.25 cover, no minimum. We take PayPal, or Shirley takes cash.)
With 22-year-old Iman Shumpert out until at least January, the youngest players on the Knicks are 27-year-olds J.R. Smith and Ronnie Brewer. The cornerstones of the franchise are Carmelo Anthony, 28, and Amare Stoudemire, who just turned 30.
Just about everyone else on the team is old enough to be Justin Bieber's dad.
For Thomas, the Knicks are his fifth team in five years. His ultimate goal? To play for every NBA team Larry Brown has ever coached.
For Thomas and Camby, this is their second stint in New York. In fact, they've been around so long, Thomas and Camby played for the Knicks the last time they made the NBA Finals - in the 20th century!
Kidd has played so many NBA minutes, he's not only a lifetime Hilton Honors member, he's also qualified for free legal services from Rubenstein & Rynecki.
Wallace was out of the league for two years, then didn't even play a minute of the exhibition season before suiting up for the Knicks. Since last playing in 2010, he worked out at the YMCA and added seven tattoos.
And how do you find an NBA rookie at 35? Prigioni is a longtime Argentine league pro, and, well, Ellis Island has been backed up with visa applications since 1907, so it took a while for the point guard to find his way to America.
This remarkable, 35-is-the-new-25 Knicks makeover started with one stupefying roster move: The decision not to re-sign meteor-like Jeremy Lin.
How do you not gamble on that international marketing sensation?
If I'm the Knicks, I re-up Lin as my No. 1 attraction and reject Spike Lee as my No. 1 season-ticket holder. Then again, Jeremy's only 24 years old and Spike's more the Knicks' speed these days: 55.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Why did you single out USC last week as an NCAA violator and ignore the University of Miami? (Robert Blair; Albany, N.Y.)
A. Because "The U" is not a great academic center, it's just a decades-long hornets' nest of nefarious athletic impropriety thinly disguised as an institution of higher learning.
Q. NFL quarterbacks spike the ball to stop the clock. In poker, have you ever spiked a chip to stop the hand? (Joe Totoraitis; Brookfield, Wis.)
A. Good notion, but they tell you never to waste your last chip.
Q. You're an L.A. guy - exactly how hard is it to learn the triangle offense? (David Leonard; Arlington, Va.)
A. Actually, it's a whole lot easier than learning the parabolic curve offense.
Q. If a tree falls in an Indianapolis forest, does Erik Spoelstra complain that it flopped? (Eddie Vidmar; Cleveland)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!