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Up-and-coming personal trainer Chris Brickley has deep ties to the Knicks organization

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or: How Chris Smith helped launch an NBA career!

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau. Steve Clifford. Kenny Atkinson. It’s no secret that Knicks assistant coaches often go on to accept head coaching jobs later in their career, some with great success. But there’s another up-and-coming former Knicks coach who has been turning heads in the personal trainer game: Chris Brickley, who works out the likes of Kevin Durant, C.J. McCollum, and former co-worker Carmelo Anthony. Ex-Knick Brandon Jennings and ex-ex-Knick Tim Hardaway Jr. also count themselves among Brickley’s clientele.

Speaking of familiar dudes who have gone on to better things, former P&T writer Scott Davis recently completed a fascinating in-depth profile of Brickley for Business Insider. Perhaps my favorite tidbit: Brickley followed Rick Pitino’s son to Louisville, where he met Chris Smith, who brought with him connections to the Knicks organization which would eventually land Brickley a job at MSG. Imagine Chris Smith helping others get a job in the NBA, instead of the other way around!

Brickley even managed to impress Phil Jackson, who kept the coach on the staff when he took over the organization in 2014. Their interview was extremely...Phil:

"I'm thinking I'm gonna go in there, I'm gonna meet with him, I'm done," Brickley said. "So I go in, I'm super nervous, super scared. It's Phil Jackson. I don't even know the guy. I come in sit down in his office and he said, 'I'm gonna ask you three questions."

Jackson proceeded to ask Brickley about Steve Nash's athleticism, the proper footwork leading into a jumper, and five characteristics of an athlete. Brickley simply went with his gut and answered the questions as best he could.

Phil always did love talking about footwork!

Brickley eventually left the organization to focus on individual training programs, particularly for Melo, his earliest and most vocal supporter. The two of them continue to work out often.

Keep on making Melo look lean and mean, Chris! All the better to increase his trade value!