The morning after agreeing to a blockbuster trade that will land Carmelo Anthony (and five others) in New York, the Knicks phoned Gerry Cosby and Co., the sporting-goods store on 31st Street, with a simple message: Be ready. Cosby’s has been responsible for stitching the names and numbers on Knicks game jerseys “at least since the early fifties,” according to Jim Root, the store’s vice-president. And by the time the new Knicks take the court tomorrow night against the Bucks, the store will need to prepare two jerseys per player — the team will wear their blue heritage jerseys in that game — and send them across Seventh Avenue to Madison Square Garden.
As of noon this afternoon, Root was still waiting for word on which numbers the players will wear — and what sizes they require. (Anthony won’t be able to wear his No. 15 in New York; it’s retired here for both Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire.) Once they get that information and some in-store prep work takes place, the jerseys are sent to an off-site location — Root won’t disclose the specifics — where the names and numbers will be stitched on. Each jersey takes about an hour, and so if Cosby’s hears back from the Knicks by this afternoon, Root says they’ll have all the jerseys by noon tomorrow. In the meantime, other work — such as doing stitching on jerseys for fans — gets put on the back burner.
Speaking of fans, Cosby’s doesn’t stitch the names and numbers on Knicks jerseys sold to the public. Those licensed uniform tops come directly from Adidas. Cosby’s already put in their order for those Anthony Knicks jerseys a month ago — just in case a trade like this one gave Adidas a reason to make them.