Harvey Araton’s new book Our Last Season: A Writer, a Fan, a Friendship (Penguin, 2020), reads like a mix between Tuesdays with Morrie and a sequel to his book When the Garden was Eden (which chronicled the New York Knicks’ early-70s title teams). It’s a book about friendship, aging and of course, basketball.
Harvey Araton is one of New York's--and the nation's--best-known sports journalists, having covered thousands of Knicks games over the course of a long and distinguished career. But the person at the heart of Our Last Season, Michelle Musler, is largely anonymous--except, that is, to the players, coaches, and writers who have passed through Madison Square Garden, where she held season tickets behind the Knicks bench for 45 years. In that time, as she juggled a successful career as a corporate executive and single parenthood of five children, she missed only a handful of home games. The Garden was her second home--and the place where an extraordinary friendship between fan and sportswriter was forged.
That relationship soon grew into something much bigger than basketball, with Michelle serving as a cherished mentor and friend to Harvey as he weathered life's inevitable storms: illness, aging, and professional challenges and transitions. During the 2017-18 NBA season, as Michelle faces serious illness that prevents her from attending more than a few Knicks games, Harvey finally has the chance to give back to Michelle everything she has given him: reminders of all she's accomplished, the blessings she's enjoyed, and the devoted friend she has been to him.
Paul Knepper was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Austin. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers Who Almost Won It All, is available on Amazon and other sites. You can reach Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.
Paul Knepper used to cover the Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in September 2020. You can reach Paul at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.