New York stomped Orlando 108-86 last night in a game that was less close than even that score indicates. But lost in the narrative is a single moment that speaks volumes about love, betrayal, and an uneaten knish.
In 2008, Glen Davis was injured in a car accident in Boston before a game against the Knicks at TD Banknorth Garden. The accident happened amidst a brutal snowstorm, and Davis's wrecked car sat accumulating snow on the shoulder of the Pike as other commuters coasted by. Finally, a Good Samaritan stopped to check on Davis and wait for an ambulance to arrive.
That Samaritan was Larry Franklin, a New Yorker on his way into Boston to visit family for the holidays. Through the intense pain of whiplash, Davis extended his gratitude graciously and promised to arrange a meeting with Franklin during the Celtics' next trip to Madison Square Garden.
Thus was seeded the fruit of an unlikely but close relationship. Whenever Davis's Celtics were in town, Big Baby would meet up with Franklin at Yonah Schimmel's on East Houston, where they shared an allegiance to the world's best potato knishes. Their late breakfasts would be followed by long, meandering walks through Chinatown during which they discussed politics, celebrity gossip and Sufi philosopher Abusa'id Abolkhayr. Soon they were texting after every game, though they never talked about basketball. Davis liked that he had a friend who cared about him beyond his fame and wealth; Franklin was happy to have a friend at all.
Larry worried after Davis was traded to the Magic that he'd see less of Big Baby, and with good reason. The shining lights and big-media atmosphere of Orlando could seduce anyone with its charms. Sure enough, their time together before the Magic's game against the Knicks in January was brief; Davis got his knish to go, spoke a few words with Franklin, then hustled out the door to a waiting towncar.
Today, Big Baby didn't show up at Yonah Schimmel's at all.
And that's why Larry Franklin came bearing the (now cold and somewhat crusty) savory snack to the Garden last night, as a jilted, angry man with the slight hope that the sight of a knish might remind Big Baby of what he was throwing away.