There's a group of Knick fans, all graduates of Regis High School on the Upper East Side, who call themselves "The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen." They grew famous — or at least became YouTube sensations — with their hilarious mockery of hyperbolic ESPN “analyst” Stephen A. Smith during the second round of last year’s NBA draft. But there is sad news to report about the society: The gentlemen have attended the last six NBA drafts, but, barring a miracle, they won’t be at the Madison Square Garden Theater for this year's picks tonight. Tickets went on sale at 11 a.m. this morning, and the boys were there two hours early. But there were about 200 people in front of them, and maybe 400 behind, and, according to one security guard, only the first 110 people on line were able to purchase tickets before supplies ran out. They'd started lining up at 6 a.m.
This year’s draft is considered one of the most talent-heavy ever, and almost all of the players expected to be picked high are already well known from playing in college — high schoolers can no longer be drafted, and there are fewer unknown foreign prospects than in past years. Adding to the drama is the possibility that established superstars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett may be traded for some of the players chosen. But things just won’t be the same without those crazed knuckleheads shouting at Stephen Smith. So if you, for some reason, are in possession of draft tickets you can’t use — each of those 110 lucky purchasers could take up to four — please do the right thing and get in touch with the Heckling Society, care of this reporter (who is not a member of the society but is an occasional participant in its shenanigans). Thousands of YouTube-watchers will be grateful. —Ben Mathis-Lilley