A New Start In New York
Cleared to return to the court for the 1998-99 season, Sprewell remained sidelined by a players' strike that lasted until January 1999, at which time he was traded from the Warriors to the New York Knicks. Joining the Knicks gave Sprewell a much-needed chance to redeem himself and his career. In his first game in a Knicks uniform, Sprewell scored a game-high twenty-four points. As the Knicks continued to win, memories of Sprewell's past altercations began to fade from the public mind. He became a popular player in New York and the team's emotional leader, helping his team reach the 1999 NBA championship series, which the Knicks lost to the San Antonio Spurs.
During the next three seasons, Sprewell averaged 18.6 points per game for the Knicks, despite the team's downward spiral in the league standings. Although he continues to incur occasional fines for being late or absent from required team functions, Sprewell quietly pays his fines. The final chapter of his career has yet to be written. Whether history will judge him as a misunderstood nice guy who tries to mind his own business for the most part or yet one more overpaid egomaniacal professional athlete remains to be seen.