November 25 2015
|Swin Cash adds Knicks studio analyst to basketball and TV resume
By Neil Best
Swin Cash is not surprised the Knicks are off to a promising, or at least intriguing, start. She had a sense merely from observing them at their training facility in Westchester – one they share with Cash and the Liberty.
“They were around working out, they were around in preseason,” she said. “I’ve played in other cities where you may see one or two guys. But to see how many guys showed up, you could tell how hungry they were, ready to get after it.
“To have this energy, this start, to have New York behind them, I’m really intrigued by what they’re able to do.”
Fine. But why quote Swin Cash about the Knicks here?
Because effective Friday night, she will be more than just an educated observer of her colleagues. She will be observing them as an occasional studio analyst for MSG Network.
Expanding her already extensive TV resume, including work for ESPN and CBS, was one of the appeals of playing in New York for Cash, who has been in the WNBA since 2002 and joined the Liberty during the 2014 season.
She married Steve Canal, a former Fordham player and New York-area native, in May, and wanted to settle here. Playing for the Liberty and working for MSG was a natural fit. So she re-signed in April to play this past season in New York.
“I was like, ‘I’m really interested in being in the New York market,’ and the Liberty were like, ‘Well, we have MSG here, so there could be some synergy,'” she said.
In addition to appearing in the studio around Knicks games about a dozen times, mostly after Jan. 1, she will host “Nothing But Knicks,” a bi-weekly show focused on behind-the-scenes looks at coach Derek Fisher, his assistants and players.
Cash, 36, knows “the end is coming soon” for her as a player, and she is not sure how much longer she wants to keep at it. But the Liberty’s success in 2015 – their 23-11 regular-season record was the league’s best – is an incentive to return.
“My biggest thing for coming here to New York and looking into the eyes of Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince, I wanted to do everything humanly possible, because I love those girls, to see them do something special,” Cash said.
“I’ve won championships [three in the WNBA and two in the NCAA, plus two Olympic gold medals]. I understand what that feeling is like. I want to see that for New York and I know how hungry they are to see it, being New York kids.
“If I can help in any way, I want to be able to say I left everything out there . . . I don’t want to take anything with me. I want to make sure that I gave it my all.”
In the meantime, there is MSG and the Knicks.
What does she think of rookie Kristaps Porzingis so far?
“KP! I love it,” she said. “I love the fact that he’s such a gym rat, but he wants to learn, wants to grow. You see every game he’ll experience something new. It’s fun for someone like me, a pro almost 14 years, to see players like him that are young, that not only are hungry for knowledge but want to be the best.
“To see him hit that big shot [a barely-too-late three-pointer Wednesday night], I was jumping up, watching the game in my house, my husband and I both. Even though it didn’t count, for me it was, like, man, here’s another step in the right direction.”
Cash said playing for the Liberty and “kind of lighting that fuse again for New York basketball on the women’s side,” and now covering the Knicks is the best of both worlds.
“The friendships I have on the sports side will help me not only with this side but also make sure I can cover it and be able to bring my basketball IQ to the table,” she said. “The Knicks were very supportive this summer of us. A lot of the guys were around, working out and coming to games. The synergy is there, and it’s like being part of the family.”
Down the road, Cash said she could envision herself being a game analyst for an NBA team.
“It’s a natural progression,” she said. “Analyzing a men’s game or analyzing a women’s game for me, there’s nothing different about it, especially for the color [analyst] side. Basketball is basketball. Yeah, you have a few more dunks here and there, but breaking down the Xs and Os, the players’ tendencies, that’s something that’s natural.”
She said she has spoken about TV work with everyone from Liberty president Isiah Thomas to NBA TV’s Steve Smith to friends such as ESPN’s Jemele Hill, Sage Steele and Sarah Spain.
“I want to be the Michael Strahan of the women’s side,” she said. “Win a championship and be like, OK, I’m out.”