The Knicks-Heat game Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan was expected to be a long night for the home team, even after the Knicks’ modest recovery following a string of early-season stumbles.
“You never know,” Henrik Lundqvist said.
The Rangers goalie was high up in one of the venue’s suites to take in the game. The crowds were still settling into their seats. Lundqvist was basking in the afterglow of a 3-2 underdog victory the previous evening against the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, in Chicago no less.
“We played one of the best games of the year and we beat them,” he said. Behind Lundqvist was his likeness in a shirtless, life-size poster, an undershirt casually draped over a shoulder, and a rack of underwear displaying boxer briefs and tank-tops. The goalie is known for his sartorial polish, but he is now taking the plunge, for the first time, into the lucrative space of underwear endorsements, an area where he’s been preceded by so many other athletes, like David Beckham and Derek Jeter, who recently gushed to WWD about the virtues of a $100 pair of boxer briefs. The purpose of his appearance at the basketball game was to promote his involvement, both in a business and promotional capacity, with the Swedish brand Bread & Boxers. Lundqvist loves — adores — their boxers briefs, and had more to say on the subject of underwear — “for me it’s all about fit and quality,” he said — than any other hockey player before him. He could have gone on and on about the wonders of nicely cut undergarments, but the game’s tipoff was imminent. What advice did he have for the Knicks facing off against such a daunting rival? The win over the Blackhawks was still fresh in his mind.
“That comes down to confidence and believing in yourself but having the right amount of respect for your opponent,” he said.
Miami didn’t quite sweep the floor with New York. Knicks won, 102 – 92.