The 2004 Knicks made you vow you'd never again follow a group of athletes even worse at their jobs than you are at yours. But that shouldn't stop you from giving money to one of the franchise's old school heroes. Hit Earl Monroe's Restaurant, which along with the NBA season opens tonight in Harlem.
The Hall of Fame guard's classy new joint serves up soul and seafood dishes that go down as smoothly as a healthy Allan Houston jumper -- at prices that won't bust your salary cap for the next decade. The smothered chicken comes with a mac-and-cheese tower tall enough to stuff a hungry Patrick Ewing, while the seemingly incompatible shrimp-and-grits work together better than knee socks and nut-hugging athletic shorts. Meanwhile, the late night live jazz and Van Gunderful view of the Hudson should provide the assist you need to turn your date into a rim-rattling slam-dunk.
If sloth prevents you from traveling uptown, consider honoring these other Knick stalwarts instead:
Art Heyman: Tracey J's Watering Hole
106 E 19th St, between Park and Irving; 212.674.5783
Visit Art's bar, where the hulking Duke All-American still mixes cocktails, drinks cocktails, and frightens female patrons with his enormous meat-mitts and grabby advances.
John Starks: My Life
available at JohnStarks.com; $19.95
Buy Starks' cleverly titled autobiography. As a testament to this sharp-shooter's enduring legacy, a signed copy will cost you an additional $5. For an extra $10, he'll gladly read it to you.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier: Just For Men
Because according to Clyde and Keith Hernandez, a single gray hair will cause women to treat you like a reeking leper.
Of course, getting to Earl Monroe's is much easier if you have a car; and if you do, why not use it to give props to the greatest Knickerbocker of them all? We're of course talking about Latrell Sprewell, whose shop sells flashy rims and high performance tires that will grip the road to Harlem as tightly as Spree once gripped PJ Carlesimo's doughy neck -- turning his face a color very close to that of Earl's delicious salmon.