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Fran Blinebury

Will Mike D'Antoni play Santa Claus for the Knicks?
Nick Laham/NBAE via Getty Images

'Twas the week before Christmas in New York

Posted Dec 18 2009 10:45AM

(With apologies to Clement C. Moore)

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all when all through the house

Not a blogger was stirring to call the coach a louse;


The high-tops were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that new Nike deals soon would be there;

The Knicks were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of LeBron danced in their heads;

And Danny Ferry in his kerchief and Clevelanders in their caps,

Had tossed and turned through their long winter naps,

When out on the asphalt court there arose such a clatter,

They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.

Away to the window they flew in a flash,

Tore open the shutters, brushed away their hair like Steve Nash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Gave the luster of the Larry O'Brien Trophy to objects below,

When, what to those wondering eyes should appear,

But a Cadillac Escalade pulled by eight tall reindeer,

With a little old driver so lean and so bony,

They knew in a moment it must be Mike D'Antoni.

More rapid than Chris Paul his coursers they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;

"Now, LeBron! Now, D-Wade! Now, Amare! By gosh!

"On, Dirk! On, Yao and Joe! On Manu and Chris Bosh!

To the top of the Garden! To the top of the wall!

Come with us now, re-invent basketball!"

As the dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the luxury suites the coursers they flew,

With the lift-back filled with millions, and Donnie Walsh, too.

And then, in a twinkling, Ferry heard on the roof

More prancing and dancing than Joe and Gavin Maloof.

As he drew in his head and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Mike came with a bound.

He was dressed all in paper, from his head to his foot,

As his clothes were all sewn together from loot;

A bundle of promises he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a used car salesman opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His face full of zest!

His cheeks red from the Hennessy he shared with Ron Artest!

His droll little plan, get the Knicks back winnin' and crushin',

Yet first things first -- outmaneuver New Jersey's Russian;

With the gold filigree pen he held tight in his teeth,

Held out the max contracts and said, "Boys, sign underneath!"

He had a warm face and hardly a belly,

Not like when you see Shaq these days on the telly.

He was confident and cheery, a right jolly old elf,

And he smiled and laughed, quite pleased with himself.

One wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Gave Ferry, not to mention the Lakers and Celtics, something to dread;

They'll fly over the court, they'll play the game madly,

They'll make New Yorkers forget Reed, Frazier and Bradley;

They'll run, dunk and rebound, what's not to like?

They'll fill up the Garden again with Woody and Spike;

He spoke the right words and went straight to his work,

Gave them all stretch limousines, another nice perk;

What of those poor franchises all left behind?

Cleveland. Miami. Toronto. Oh, never mind;

And laying a finger aside of his nose

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his Escalade, his team now a powerful missile,

Let them try, thought D'Antoni, to blow one referee's whistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he soared the walls of adobe,

"Just to be sure, next Christmas, I'm coming back for Kobe!"

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here.

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