Yahoo Sports By Dan Devine June 23, 2017
In the hours leading up to the 2017 NBA draft, the main question on the mind of New York Knicks fans wasn’t which prospect the team would select with the eighth overall pick. Nor was it whether Knicks owner James Dolan would find time to treat concert-goers at City Winery to any Johnny Cash covers later that evening. (Spoiler alert: he did!) No, the one thing every Knicks fan wanted to know: would they really trade 21-year-old franchise centerpiece Kristaps Porzingis, as president of basketball operations Phil Jackson had been suggesting the team might make in the run-up to Thursday’s draft?
The mere suggestion that Jackson might jettison the lone bright spot from the last two dark and chaotic years of Knicks basketball, whether over a missed exit interview or out of a desire to kickstart a rebuild necessitated by the sins of management in pretty much every area but drafting Kristaps, left Knicks fans furious and apoplectic. And it drove one fan to take extreme measures, expressing his opposition to the idea of trading away the 7-foot-3 Latvian star in very big, very bright lights:
During Thursday’s draft, a gigantic digital billboard displayed the text “DON’T TRADE PORZINGIS” on the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, directly across from Madison Square Garden. (The smaller print: “We are not affiliated with Porzingis. We just want him to stay.”)
The message came courtesy of Cycle, and specifically from Knicks fan Rob Perez, who hosts a digital basketball show called “Buckets” for the culture website. As Perez explained via Periscope, the billboard was his way of putting his money where his mouth was – making sure that Jackson and the rest of the decision-makers at MSG couldn’t possibly avoid the voice of this particular fan.