Ostensibly, the goal of any NBA player is to win a championship. And everyone always says winning a championship in New York is one of the greatest achievements an athlete can experience. But before you can win a championship, you have to win a playoff game. And the Knicks haven't won a playoff game in a long, long time. It has been 4,015 days, to be exact: The Knicks last won a playoff game on April 29, 2001, eleven years ago this coming Sunday, which happens to be when the Knicks will probably play their first playoff game this year. Eleven years. That's crazy.
The Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors, 97-89, that April day but went on to lose their next two games to give the Raptors the series. Here are the Knicks who played in that game:
That's it. Since then, 96 players have put on a Knicks uniform, and not a single one of them has won a playoff game while wearing that uniform. Inspired by and drawing from our magazine piece back in 2010 in which we looked at every Knick who had played for the team since LeBron James came in the league in 2003, we thought we'd take a gander at every Knick whose goal was to win a championship but never even won a single playoff game. Here they are:
1. Shandon Anderson
Part of former G.M. Scott Layden’s obsession with players from his former team in Utah.
2. Carmelo Anthony
Guest star on Showtime's Nurse Jackie.
3. Trevor Ariza
Later became key component of Lakers’ 2008-2009 championship team.
4. Vin Baker
Signed by Isiah Thomas after he was released by Celtics for being an alcoholic. Still alive.
5. Renaldo Balkman
Taken by Thomas one spot ahead of Rajon Rondo. Returned to the Knicks last year. Humpty.
6. Matt Barnes
Played six games in 2005 before being waived; you totally forgot he played for the Knicks, didn't you?
7. Earl Barron
Came to Knicks from team called the Iowa Energy. Started six games.
8. Jonathan Bender
Ex-phenom limped out a few games for the Knicks in 2009-2010.
9. Mike Bibby
That he's getting considerable minutes right now tells you all you need to know about Knicks' point guard situation.
10. Chauncey Billups
Resigned, then amnestied, in the span of about a month. Will miss the payoffs with the Clippers because of injury.
11. Jamison Brewer
Part of the trade with the Spurs that ultimately landed David Lee.
12. Derrick Brown
Has started the last twelve games for the Charlotte Bobcats, all of which have been losses.
13. Jackie Butler
Outplayed vastly more expensive centers Eddy Curry and Jerome James for Larry Brown.
14. Marcus Camby
He's still active and on the Rocket's roster in his sixteenth season.
15. Anthony Carter
Let us not forget that he might have been the best Knicks point guard during the playoffs last year.
16. Kelvin Cato
Plodding journeyman who mercifully ended his career at the Garden.
17. Wilson Chandler
Part of the Carmelo trade, of course, spent time in China before returning to Denver ... and getting hurt again. (He'll miss the playoffs.)
18. Tyson Chandler
Potentially your 2011-2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year?
19. Mardy Collins
Mostly known for brutal foul on future Knick J.R. Smith that started a brawl.
20. Jamal Crawford
Sometimes we wonder if he'd be the sixth man on a rec league team.
21. Joe Crawford
Played two games in April 2009.
22. Eddy Curry
The last, portly vestige of Thomas’s reign. Getting paid by the Heat right now, for what it's worth.
23. Antonio Davis
Traded for the first-round pick not used on Rajon Rondo.
24. Baron Davis
Reminding us every day of what he used to be — and what he now isn't.
25. Michael Doleac
Recently got his master’s in physics at the University of Utah.
26. Toney Douglas
Turns out ... not a point guard!
27. Chris Duhon
As hated as he was when he was here, the Knicks could desperately use him right now.
28. Howard Eisley
Another Jazz castoff from Layden.
29. Raymond Felton
Has become awfully portly since the Knicks traded him.
30. Landry Fields
As frustrating as he might be, has still provided massive value from a second-round pick.
31. Steve Francis
Once-superb vet crippled by knee problems during Knicks run.
32. Channing Frye
A smart Isiah Thomas draft pick who didn't blossom until after he left.
33. Danilo Gallinari
Getting better every month with the Nuggets.
34. J. R. Giddens
Received along with Bill Walker in Nate Robinson trade; team has renounced his rights within a month.
35. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway
Former All-Star spent two seasons in NYC with arthritic knees. Doesn't sound like Chris Rock, like, at all.
36. Josh Harrellson
37. Al Harrington
Yet another former Knick in Denver.
38. Jordan Hill
Traded to Houston for salary-cap space, now with the Lakers, somehow. Probably Donnie Walsh's biggest mistake.
39. Eddie House
Received in Nate Robinson trade; not the next Jordan.
40. Larry Hughes
Knicks were the sixth of the seven teams Hughes has played for.
41. Jermaine Jackson
Not the singer.
42. Jerome James
Arguably worst free-agent signing in history of sports. Received five-year, $30 million deal in 2005; played four games in final two years of deal for Knicks.
43. Jared Jeffries
Injured right now but terrific as long as he never, ever shoots.
44. DerMarr Johnson
Signed by Knicks one and a half years after breaking his neck in a car crash.
45. Jerome Jordan
Consistently dominates the D-League, still gets confused with Jerome James.
46. Fred Jones
Actually won the slam-dunk contest once, if you believe that.
47. Travis Knight
Part of the Patrick Ewing trade.
48. Marcus Landry
Brother of Rockets star Carl Landry paid his own way to his Knicks tryout.
49. David Lee
One of three players on this list to play in an All-Star Game in a Knicks jersey. Still can't play defense.
50. Jeremy Lin
Please, please come back soon, Jeremy.
51. Roger Mason Jr.
Hired shooter who, it turned out, absolutely could not shoot.
52. Stephon Marbury
Scowling, crazy face of a terrible decade.
53. Antonio McDyess
Received $26 million and played eighteen games (knee problems) during Knicks tenure. Later revived career in Detroit.
54. Tracy McGrady
It will never stop seeming strange to see McGrady just suddenly enter the game in the third quarter for the Hawks.
55. Darko Milicic
Famous draft bust was traded to the T-Wolves for Brian Cardinal, who was then waived.
56. Nazr Mohammed
Averaged a near-double-double 10.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in one New York season.
57. Randolph Morris
First player in history to play in an NCAA and NBA game in the same week.
58. Timofey Mozgov
Bizarrely, was the last sticking point in the Carmelo trade. Cries every time Blake Griffin's name is mentioned.
59. Dikembe Mutombo
Full name: Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo.
60. Lee Nailon
Currently playing for Bnei HaSharon in Israeli league.
61. Demetris Nichols
Played two games in 2008–2009 and scored five points.
62. Moochie Norris
Received for Clarence Weatherspoon in first trade Thomas ever made.
63. Steve Novak
Has never been seen attempting a layup.
64. Lavor Postell
Uh, he went to St. John's!
65. Anthony Randolph
He's still gonna make it! So much potential! You just wait!
66. Zach Randolph
Consistent scorer and rebounder with persistent legal problems. Traded to cut salary.
67. Andy Rautins
Lives on in the hearts of all of us (and in the locker of Landry Fields).
68. Quentin Richardson
Played himself in Van Wilder.
69. Anthony Roberson
Plays in France.
71. Nate Robinson
Won three slam-dunk contests as a Knick while regularly driving coach Mike D’Antoni to drink.
72. Sergio Rodriguez
Late-season point guard tryout in 2009–2010 earned him a new contract … in Spain.
73. Jalen Rose
Has a podcast on Grantland, for some reason.
74. Malik Rose
Allegedly attacked by Nate Robinson in team shower. Now a broadcaster.
75. Cheikh Samb
Sengalese center played two games in 2009.
76. Mouhamed Sene
Sengalese center played one game in 2009.
77. Iman Shumpert
An elite perimeter defender who shouldn't ever try to play point guard again.
78. Courtney Sims
Played eleven minutes in one game in April 2009. Knicks lost.
79. J.R. Smith
One of few Knicks able to create his own shot. Sorry, "shot."
80. Amar'e Stoudemire
Still not Jewish.
81. Bruno Sundov
Seven-foot-two: Has played in Belgium and Cyprus since leaving Knicks.
82. Michael Sweetney
Known for wide bottom and supposed rebounding prowess.
83. Maurice Taylor
One of the main figures in University of Michigan basketball team NCAA–rules violations.
84. Tim Thomas
Played for Knicks three times; twice traded to Chicago Bulls.
85. Cezary Trybanski
Seven-foot-two Polish national played in three games and scored one point, or 0.3 points per game.
86. Ronny Turiaf
You'll be booing this former fan favorite in the playoffs; he plays for the Heat now.
87. Ime Udoka
Small forward came to Knicks from the Fort Wayne Flyers and played eight games.
88. Keith Van Horn
Was actually on the cover of the "NBA Jam" ’99 video game. Not as a Knick.
89. Bill Walker
Recently waived by the Knicks for Dan Gadzuric, who has yet to appear in a game.
90. Clarence Weatherspoon
The first man Thomas traded away.
91. Chris Wilcox
Finished out the 2008–2009 season with team and left as a free agent.
92. Frank Williams
Former Illini who played from 2002 to 2004. Arrested two years ago in Peoria for pot possession.
93. Jerome Williams
Waived by the Knicks in 2005 to avoid paying the luxury tax; retired two days later.
94. Shawne Williams
Broke everybody's heart by taking his corner poops to New Jersey this year.
95. Shelden Williams
Duke grad married to WNBA superstar.
96. Qyntel Woods
Once convicted of dogfighting (a misdemeanor). Now plays in Poland.
So, 96 Knicks who have failed to win a playoff game so far wearing the blue and orange. Eleven years is a long time.