On Tuesday night, the Knicks will learn their place in the NBA draft lottery. With a No. 1 pick, they’d get Duke superstar Zion Williamson, as well as a commodity the team’s fans rarely have enjoyed: hope.
But these are the Knicks we’re talking about — luck is as rare as a playoff appearance. It’s time to invoke higher powers.
So there was Rabbi Adam Mintz standing outside Madison Square Garden, praying.
“Believe it or not, the Bible, written some 3,500 years ago, doesn’t talk about the NBA or even the Knicks,” quipped Mintz, of the Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim synagogue on the Upper West Side.
“But the Bible does instruct us that we have a mitzvah, an obligation, to be supporters of Zion and lovers of Zion. So God, we ask you: Please let the lottery fall to the Knicks tonight so that we can be lovers of Zion and supporters of Zion, for many years to come.”
The Knicks need all the help they can get, considering their history since the last time the team won the lottery and picked Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall in 1985. Ewing led the team to 13 straight playoff appearances, including two trips to the NBA Finals, but they still haven’t won a championship since 1973. They haven’t even made the postseason for the past six years, all losing seasons, and they have won only one playoff series since Ewing left in 2000.
Lottery-wise, the Knicks have never moved up in the draft order at all after 1985’s jackpot. In the nine times the Knicks have played poorly enough to be in the lottery since 1985, they have yet to land a franchise-changing player. And no matter how many free agents they have signed, head coaches they have shuffled through, or front-office executives they have put in charge, the team has been a franchise beset by negativity.
The Post figured it’s time to ask a higher power for help with the pingpong balls Tuesday night.
A rabbi, a priest, a miracle healer and medical medium, a shaman, a member of the Eckankar clergy and two witches all came to the Garden in recent days. What ensued was a mix of blessings, cleansings and other-worldly manifestations in an attempt to reverse the Knicks’ fortunes.
Season of the witch
Five lit candles sat on the sidewalk on the corner of 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue. In the middle was a small cauldron and a pentacle, a metal disk inscribed with a star — all of it facing north, as per Wiccan ritual, directed toward the spirit.
Two witches lit sage sticks and walked around the candles, the incense cleansing the area of negative energies and spirits to clear the way for their “intentions” to rise up into the universe and to the Goddess Fortuna.
Priestess Rosalyn Windsong and Joanne Tsz Yan, wearing all black to reflect negativity, then stopped to ask for good energy and followed with a chant.
“Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson, Zion Williamson,” they said.
“Harm to none and three times three, it is done so let it be,” Windsong said.
All in the name of the No. 1 pick.
Well, Duke did have a famous Christian (Laettner)
The Rev. Anthony Sirianni has been to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a setting in the Hebrew scriptures where God appeared and gave blessings and strength.
The Knicks might benefit from a trip there. In the meantime, they got a blessing from Sirianni.
“I don’t believe in curses, but I think we all need to light candles,” said Sirianni, the Pastor at St. Helena in Edison, NJ.
Sirianni would prescribe Our Fathers and Hail Marys, too, for any parishioners seeking divine intervention with the pingpong balls. It could take every last one to land the No. 1 pick and Williamson — from the “Holy Land of Duke,” Sirianni joked.
Gotta have faith
In her sessions, miracle healer and medical medium Donna McGrath usually asks why her clients have called. Where to start with the Knicks? The triangle?
Then McGrath goes back to the years when the trauma first happened. There’s plenty to choose from.
So into her left hand went all the losing and failed lotteries of years past. In the right, thoughts of 1985, Patrick Ewing and Zion Williamson.
“Let’s put that in my [right] hand and multiply that they do get Zion, and multiply that good feeling by 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, 1 million, all the intensity of the sun coming down, completely dissolving all the patterns of having lost the lottery in the past, and overlaying with winning, winning and winning,” McGrath was saying Friday in the shadow of the Garden, as she made a motion to squash her left hand with the right. “So it is and so it is and so it is. God is all there is. God is gracious.”
McGrath, who usually lends her energy to help heal sick patients, offered her help for a team in need of a miracle of its own. She brought with her energy wands blessed by a guru in Australia, each with a different intention.
One in particular, with a reddish hue, seemed apt: the “numerology wizard.” On the night of numbers, the Knicks could use all the help they can get.
You gotta believe
The aftermath of the 1985 lottery was filled with conspiracy theories that NBA executives had rigged it for the Knicks. The frozen envelope. The creased corner. A hand from the auditing firm.
There are plenty of safeguards against those in 2019, but perhaps Joey Stann could help. A shaman, Stann stood in the rain Friday offering to communicate telepathically with executives who will be in the room.“I can go ahead and get in with their minds, their higher-level selves, and get that energy flowing so they can make that happen,” said Stann, also an integrative energy healer and Reiki master.
The Knicks have no control over the pingpong balls. They do control their own minds.
“The key word here is ‘believe,’” Stann said. “If they go ahead and do that, then it’s all going to work.”
Perhaps all this suffering is for a reason
But what if — despite all the blessings, cleansings and celestial appeals — the sky still falls? The Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers have the same 14 percent chance of winning the lottery as the Knicks do. Worst comes to worst — and it would be an epic kind of worst — the Knicks would pick fifth.
The HU Song may help. The Eckankar spiritual exercise — sung as “Huuuuuuuuue” for about 20 minutes a day — aims to find a sense of peace or purpose.
“Singing the HU is not intended to change results,” Rodney Jones, an Eckankar clergy member, said before performing a rendition of it near the Garden. “It’s intended to deepen the understanding and awareness of what the result means.
“If they don’t [win the lottery], understand there’s another thing at work. There’s a deeper purpose, something I’m not aware of, so I want to be aware of that.”
Perhaps Murray State’s dynamic point guard, Ja Morant, becomes the deeper purpose, Duke’s extraordinary swing man, R.J. Barrett, the hidden gem, Virginia’s two-way forward (and national champion) De’Andre Hunter the silver lining, or Duke’s gifted-but-underachieving wing, Cam Reddish, the diamond in the rough.
“Maybe Zion has another shoe malfunction, who knows?” Jones said referring to the night Williamson’s sneaker all but exploded and he injured his knee.
By late Tuesday night, the city will rejoice or cry. Maybe both. Some may thank their rosary beads or curse their gods, depending on the result.
Of course, it’s never too late to convert to Eckankar to help soothe the pain.
“Everything happens for us. Nothing happens to us,” Jones said. “So if the Knicks get Zion, amazing, incredible, what a journey. But if they don’t, there’s a reason for that, too.”
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