Dennis Doyle has experienced all of the travel and exactly none of the joy.
When the 32-year-old New York Knicks lifer first drummed up the plan to follow his beloved NBA team at every stop -- including London -- for an entire season, he had no idea it would be a historic one.
Sadly for him, it was historic for all the wrong reasons.
"This is the worst basketball that I've seen this season," says Doyle, while exiting the O2 Arena after the Knicks were blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks for their 16th loss in a row.
Doyle arrived in London (via Iceland) on Saturday to watch the Knicks as part of the NBA's Global Games initiative.
"I was hoping they would win close to 40 games, sneak into the playoffs and see what could happen," he says.
Instead, the Knicks are on course to have their worst season in franchise history with a 5 -- 36 record at the halfway mark. The failure is extreme, even for a team that has battled a revolving door of personnel changes and off-court controversy for well over a decade.
During the off season, the Knicks hired Phil Jackson to run its front office -- unchartered territory for the legendary former coach. His first move was to appoint his long-serving Lakers point-guard Derek Fisher as a rookie head coach. Both, it appears, are learning on the job at the expense of fans who pay the highest ticket prices in the league
For Doyle, however, supporting the Knicks is practically out of his hands.
"If it were possible I would have left the team about 10 years ago," he says, referring to an era that included crippling player contracts along with an in-house sexual harassment charge
against then-coach and general manager Isiah Thomas. "So I've given up trying to get a divorce, we're stuck together ... unfortunately."
In London, he will attend his first English Premier League football match at his adopted team of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. "I ended up choosing the team most like the Knicks," Doyle explains. "They are from a big city, but have a history of disappointment. There's something that resonated with me in that."
Rather than sport a lucky jersey like most super fans, Doyle wears an unlucky jersey, Carmelo Anthony's number 7, which he bought after the third game of the season when the Knicks had a record of 2-1. They have won only three games and lost 35 since.
"It's a tough season, so we really appreciate his effort of trying to see all of our games," says Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks Argentinian point guard and Doyle's favorite current player.
"You know I feel a little bit sad, not only for him, but for all Knicks fans around the world," Prigioni explains. "Because of course we never expected this kind of season; but by now we are in the middle of deep changes, so I think in the future the team will be much better."
Doyle, who went to law school at Georgetown, received a pink slip from his law firm on the same day the Knicks announced Jackson's hire. He took it as a sign.
After talking it over with his sister Kelly, a life coach in Charlotte, North Carolina, Doyle paid $3,500 for a season's worth of middle-tier corner seats at Madison Square Garden and began plotting his six month odyssey. Including away tickets, which he paid for in advance -- "I probably could have gotten a discount if I had waited to see how bad they are," he laments -- along with flights and accommodation, the experience has set him back $25,000.
"It's a crazy amount of money, I understand that," he says, between sips of Guinness at an oak-infused pub in Notting Hill, west London. "But a lot of people in my position will travel the world. Lawyers burn themselves out, they take a year off, an