Orange You Glad I Decided to Explain?

There have been a number of very good comments that have been made repeatedly since my article on how the Knicks’ Orange Out being organized for games 3 & 4 ( could cost the Knicks a win was posted on my blog (Game Time at the Garden of Good and Evil) and on The Knicks Wall.  In rereading the article, I realize that I made some assumptions.  And, as Samuel L. Jackson said in The Long Kiss Goodnight, “When you make an assumption, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘umption’”.

To avoid making an ass out of umption, I’ve decided to explain a bit more about what I wrote and why.

1.         Can a sea of dark orange shirts make it more difficult to shoot?

Absolutely.  This is not a guess.  Any of you who are shooters or shooting coaches will know this is possible.  If we can get an optometrist or ophthalmologist, preferably one used to working with basketball players, to comment, he or she will agree that this could absolutely interfere with a shooter’s ability to hit a shot.

2.         How many shots will it affect?

Anywhere from zero to lots.  There’s no way to tell.  It depends on how much that type of thing impacts a particular shooter and it depends on where he shoots from. 

If you saw the clip of Ray Allen talking about shooting and his right eye being dominant, you know that when he’s turning towards the basket to shoot, he only has to see the rim with his right (dominant) eye before he’ll launch.  That could mean that he wouldn’t even pick up the orange background until the after the ball left his hand.  In those circumstances, the chance that it will impact him is zero.

For a shooter who is sensitive to the contrast issue and is taking a 3 from either corner?  You’re talking rebound and, probably, air ball.  Short or long, left or right, but air ball.  Unless it hits the side of the backboard.

To use another sports analogy, when a PGA Tour player is putting and a fan in the gallery coughs, how much does that affect his putt?  The answer is anywhere from “it doesn’t” to “it cost him the tournament”.  Some players aren’t bothered by stuff like that; some will scream at the fan and require a tranquilizer dart before they can continue.  The cough, like the orange contrast issue, affects different players differently.

3.         Who does it potentially harm more, the Knicks or the Celtics?

The Knicks, for two reasons.  First, points in the paint most likely won’t be affected by the orange shirts.  Even though the Knicks are holding the Celtics below their regular season “in the paint” scoring average, the Celtics are still scoring many more points in the paint than the Knicks.  If both teams’ jump shooting is affected exactly the same way (good, bad, or indifferent), points in the paint would mean a Celtics win.

Second, and this is an intangible, the Knicks aren’t used to shooting against a sea of orange.  So they’re not getting all the benefits of playing at “home” (the environment that they’re used to).  If this was the University of Tennessee and all home games had a sea of orange tee shirts as a backdrop, the effect of the Orange Out on the home team would be nil.  But just because Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, and Allan Houston all lit it up at Tennessee, it doesn’t mean that “Rocky Top” should be piped into the Garden.  Besides, the UT orange is much lighter than the Knicks dark orange and provides a better contrast for the shooters.

4.         Could it affect the outcome of the game?

Absolutely.  With two losses by a total of 5 points, it only takes the Orange Out affecting two Knicks shots to cost them the game (unless they’re Bill Walker’s shots and then the Knicks would pull out the win!)

5.         The biggest question, for me anyway, is Why Do This?

This is something that’s within the control of the Knicks.  Nobody knows how much of a negative effect it will have on the shooting but it could have some.  There’s no league rule that says that an Orange Out is required.  So why do it?

My guess here is that this is something that marketing put together without running it by basketball operations.  Or maybe they did and nobody thought about the potential downside.  The marketing group has a different group goal than the basketball ops group.  Ultimately, they all want the team to win but marketing can win even when the team doesn’t.  The conflicting goals probably allowed this to happen.  Or a lack of communication.  And that’s too bad.

My main rationale for posting that piece was to make enough people aware of the potential problem that the Knicks might avoid the Orange Out and avoid the loss.  I know The Knicks Wall wanted the same thing.  Hopefully, it’ll either be a non-issue or those within the Knicks organization who want to give the team every possible advantage will prevail.

For those of you who know my history with the Knicks from the last two times they went deep in the playoffs, I hope you remember that if I say something as fact, I can back it up.  For those of you who are new acquaintances, I apologize for not spelling out some of my rationale more clearly.  Thank you for pointing that out and for all your feedback, positive and negative. 

In the end, however, my biggest apology goes to ‘umption’.  Sorry to have made an ass of you.


One Response

  1. […] this orange uniform rant seems familiar to you, it’s because I’ve written about the topic before. Those times, however, it was because of the Knicks Marketing department’s attempts […]

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