In the wee hours of Sunday morning after attending a fundraiser and afterparty out here, basketball star Jason Kidd got in his SUV alone, drove off the road and hit a pole near the intersection of Cobb Road and Little Cobb Road.
The police arrived and arrested Kidd on a DWI charge. He was taken to Southampton Hospital for minor injuries, released, then spoke to his Sag Harbor lawyer Eddie Burke, Jr.
Why did this happen? Well, last week, this entire New York Metropolitan area was in a state of Linsanity once again. Kidd, a brilliant but, at 39, aging, point guard who had led the Dallas Mavericks to a championship two years ago, had been obtained by the New York Knicks to mentor the sensational 23 year old point guard Jeremy Lin.
What a wonderful thing. I think practically every New York City sports fan, even if they don’t like basketball, will be glued to their TV sets this autumn to watch this. The Knicks could win the championship with this.
All James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, President and CEO of Cablevision Systems Corporation and the executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, had to do was match an offer made for Lin by the Houston Rockets. It was an expensive offer. And at the last minute it got even more expensive. But how could anybody turn this down?
Last winter, this entire community went wild, as Lin, this amazing Harvard trained basketball player of Chinese-American descent, such an unusual background for a basketball player, dazzled all the teams that the Knicks faced, leading the team from just below mediocre into the playoffs, where, after injuring his knee, he was forced to sit on the bench. So then the Knicks lost.
I think tens of millions, maybe millions of people in all, watched Jeremy Lin play during that time. This likely translated to tens of millions of dollars of new advertising revenue for the Knicks. They called it Linsanity. But it meant Dolan could count his money. And now he’d be able to count even more money in the winter of 2012-13.
But last Saturday, when it came out that the Houston Rockets increased their offer for Lin (he had been making what any untested player claimed off waivers would make last year, maybe $800,000. He was sleeping on his brother’s couch), most suspected that Dolan would take a pass. Let Lin go to Houston. Bye bye Lin.
Sports, for many people, including myself, is a personal matter. On Saturday evening when it seemed likely that the Knicks were going to let Houston have Lin, I fell into a great depression. I am not a basketball fan. Never have been a basketball fan. Hadn’t watched a basketball game in years. But I am a Lin fan. I was riveted by his performance. When a dispute about TV rights briefly removed the game from my TV (I have DirecTV not Cablevision), I drove around the Hamptons looking for bars where I could watch him play.
So here it is, early Sunday morning, maybe 2 a.m., and Jason Kidd hits a pole so hard he has to be taken to Southampton Hospital.
This is written on Tuesday morning. By late Tuesday night, Dolan will have to decide. Will he rise to the demands of his fans and keep Lin for Kidd to mentor? (A poll I took on the Internet on Sunday afternoon showed results of 4 to 1 demanding that.) Or will he let Lin go? As this paper comes out on Thursday after all this, you already know the answer to that question.
But now it is just after the accident. It is Monday and I am imagining Kidd lying on the couch, a psychiatrist asking him questions.
“So Mr. Kidd, did the matter of Jeremy Lin have anything to do with why you hit the pole?”
I am lying next to Jason Kidd on another couch. I burst into tears.