Tiki. What a strange time for that announcement, huh? Especially for us distracted Mets fans. Is he bullshitting? No. Tiki doesn’t bullshit. He’s dead serious, which makes this year that much more of a do-or-die proposition. The team owes it to Tiki to go absolutely balls-to-the wall this season – he’s the greatest offensive player in Giants history, and it would be sweet if we sent him away with a ring. So as disappointing as this announcement was, it can be a galvanizing force for a team that seems to need reasons to get it together.

Whatever happens, Tiki has been an absolute pleasure to watch these past nine-plus years. I don’t think there’s an athlete that I’ve enjoyed watching more: in a game that is too often determined by brute force and physicality, Tiki does it with finesse. Think about it: He’s not fast, he’s certainly not big, he’s not even that quick. He’s just… good. He just… always knows where to go. He is a master out there, and artist, and while I wish him the best in his sports/newscasting career, there is no way that he can do anything better or more beautifully than he plays football.

But far be it from us to criticize his decision. The guy is an adult who can do what he wants. His integrity or his effort cannot be questioned: for all these years, the guy’s been an absolute mensch. We can be disappointed because we won’t get to watch him anymore, but we can’t hold it against him.

Anyway, here a little poem about Tiki. It kind of reads like a corny bar-mitzvah toast, but it’s the best I’m gonna do.

**

Back at Virginia we had heard about you

The crafty little back who beat FSU

“The Barber of C’ville,” you were called by some

But who could have guessed what you have become?

A second round draft pick, because of your size

A mere “change of pace,” in the talent scouts’ eyes

But you sure did impress in your Giants debut,

Scoring two touchdowns and propelling Big Blue.

We had a player on our hands, we Giants fans knew,

And his name was “Tiki,” for Atiim Kiambu

*

But at five foot ten and two-hundred pounds,

They said you weren’t cut out to play all four downs

You were small, they said, and couldn’t take hits,

Your blocking was suspect when you picked up the blitz,

A big power back, they said, was what we needed to obtain,

Like Gary Brown, Joe Montgomery, the immortal Ron Dayne

But Fassel got wise and gave you a chance,

And you racked up the yards with your feet and your hands.

What a delight you were to us fans!

The thrills you brought to the ol’ Meadowlands.

* 

Small and not even especially fast,

It was your incredible instincts that were unsurpassed

Your timing, your presence, your maneuvering feet,

Your game was finesse, your running-style sweet.

Dancing, not busting, through defenders’ embraces

Emerging improbably, off to the races.

Somehow evading outside contain,

Headed downfield for another big gain

Another deft cut through the narrowest lane,

Blowing a kiss as you cross the plane.

* 

The greatest offensive player that’s ever worn blue,

Is hanging ‘em up, saying he’s through

And we Giants fans just sit here and stew,

Please, please, Tiki! Say it’s untrue!

Next stop is Canton, and whatever you do:

Thanks for the memories. We will always love you.