I had the distinct misfortune of nursing a hangover this past Wednesday morning whilst watching the above film on cable — for the 3rd or 4th time, I must confess.  And along with the ill-advised cameos by Chris Berman, Marv Albert, Greg Ostertag and Avery Johnson, there was one scene in particular that really stood out.

Eddie, the titular Knicks superfan-turned-coach, played artlessly by the wretched Whoopi Goldberg, brings a couple of kids into the locker room before a game.  The star-struck youngster scamper from player to player, hunting for autographs, but no dice. These pampered superstars embody the most cartoonish stereotypes of NBA royalty.  One dude is too busy chatting up girls, another, played by Malik Sealy,  announces in proto-T.O. mode, “Stacy Patton” don’t sign autographs”.  Rick Fox (!) is talking to his broker on a cell phone.

And I thought to myself, “even for a worst case scenario, even for a film this fucking rotten”, such a scene was a little much.

But that was before I watched the Knicks lose to the Sixers last night, 101-90.

During the 3rd quarter of what was at the time, a close game, MSG’s cameras lingered on the bench-warming Stephon Marbury (2 points, 13 minutes) yucking it up with Eddy Curry.  It appeared as though the latter was admiring the former’s manicure, but I can’t say for certain. Though I can tell you a stark impression was made that neither of these clowns had any interest whatsoever in the game unfolding in front of them.  Given the overall level of play, perhaps I cannot blame them very much, but at what point did it become too much to ask for these veterans to at least feign some regard for their alleged vocation?

I’m generally not one to buy into some World’s Scrappiest Human bullshit. I mean, if Stephon Marbury isn’t sliding across the floor for a loose ball a few days after his father’s death, I’m not offended.  But Friday’s giggle-fest on the New York bench was yet another reminder —as if losing to the Celtics by 45 wasn’t enough — that pride and professionalism are vague concepts for a team coached by Isiah Thomas.

I’m pretty sure none of this would’ve happened if Dennis Farina hadn’t walked out.