By Scott Simone
Free time doesn’t come easily for Allan Houston. The former New York Knicks star is scheduled for a photo shoot, but that must wait. Right now, the father of seven is attending to his duties as the general manager of the Westchester Knicks, a National Basketball Association Development League team he helped assemble over the past three years.
Worried about the players’ psyches, he asks the photographer to hold off until the team clears out of the gym. He doesn’t want the players thinking he’s taking their spotlight. So Houston sits on a table inside the New York Knicks’ Tarrytown training center, silently watching the practice. A banner adorned with Patrick Ewing’s retired number 33 hangs directly over his head, a nod to the last bit of the Knicks’ glory days Houston was a part of in the late ’90s. During those years, Houston entered Knicks lore. His shot—one of the purest and prettiest ever to grace the NBA—sent a generation of New York kids to the closest park to try to emulate it. His last-second leaning floater in Game 5 of the 1999 playoffs’ first round forever ensconced him in Knicks history. When the ball fell through, the Knicks beat the Miami Heat, and for only the second time ever, an eighth-ranked team upset a first-ranked team in an NBA playoff game. The Knicks went to the finals that year—their last bit of success in a decade and half.
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