Given that I’ve never played professional or collegiate-level sports, I had to turn to the voluminous cache of movie knowledge residing deep within my cerebral cortex.
I also wanted to get my “What Would Donnie Walsh Do?” on, so naturally I looked to be inspired by the legendary Coach Norman Dale of Hoosiers fame.
Here’s a copy of the version that I just faxed over to D’Antoni’s emergency line at the Garden:
“There’s ayy, umm… tradition in Knicks’ play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. We usually trip down a flight of steps though, so I say tradition be damned.”
[Long pause for emphasis]
“I’m sure playing .500 ball and no longer being eviscerated by the New York media is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.”
[Look around the locker room poignantly, and try to lock eyes with Carmelo Anthony]
“Forget about the crowds, the size of the James Dolan’s head, the Bucks’ fancy Bambi-with-horns uniforms, and remember what got you here.”
[Optional reference here, depending on the mood, to Melopalooza and/or no other teams offering Ama’re $100m+]
“Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again. You know, like defense and rebounding.”
“And most important, don’t get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game. Actually, that’s rarely concerned you before, so just keep on keepin’ on as far that goes.”
“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential to be the best that you can be for more than two quarters for a change, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners!”
“Well, maybe not winners, but at least we won’t be complete losers, right?”
[If all goes well, Sheldon Williams will begin to clap, followed by Andy Rautins, and shortly thereafter everyone claps in unison]
“Alright!! Let’s go!! Let’s go!! Let me hear it!!”
Sure, D’Antoni may not win an Oscar — especially if that damned Trautwig shows just a clip of the speech — but he’ll be sure to gain the team’s respect and loyalty, and maybe even a stay of execution from those who would like to see him run out town.