These Knicks have been described using a wide array of words both positive and negative. Words like tough, physical, big, inconsistent, incomplete, mediocre, nepotistic, star-less... And I’m sure I’m missing a bunch more. But regardless of what the outside chatter has been, this team just puts its head down, goes to work, and plays basketball.
Although they may not be the most entertaining characters, the most social-media active, or the flashiest players in the league, the kind of steadfastness, dedication, and quiet demeanor that so many on this team possess might be the most fun part about this team, which is ironic, given we are in the age of players having larger platforms than ever off the court where they can express themselves with fashion, humor, and other hobbies and interests.
This isn’t to say that the players on this team are devoid of personality. Obviously, that’s not the case. In fact, far from it.
Mitchell Robinson has long been a fan favorite thanks in part to his hilarious post-game interviews and unique and goofy humor on social media.
Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson’s back-and-forth banter has been pure comedy this season deserving of its own show.
And OG Anunoby’s almost Kawhi Leonard-esque monotone responses and robot-like mannerisms are funny in their own way.
But when it comes down to it, the most fun part, at least for me personally, has been watching this team’s lack of care for what’s going on outside of the team. More than 45 games into the season, they’ve so far been a team that exemplifies toughness, and focus, something we don’t always see in today’s NBA.
Media goes out of its way to discredit Brunson? He shrugs it off, scores 30, and makes the All-Star game.
How about Randle, who’s tenure as a Knicks has been filled with criticism? He learned to deal with all the noise, put the work in, and made three All-Star games.
Fans complain about Hart and his offense? He comes up big in big moments.
Quentin Grimes in trade rumors? He doesn’t make a big deal out of it and stays professional.
Tom Thibodeau finds himself on the hot seat? Stay the course. People panic about a bad loss against a bad team? They bounce back and secure a big win against a good team. On and on it goes...
Of course, guys have had slip-ups—Randle has a long up-and-down history with the fans, and Robinson has addressed rumors and critics on his social media platforms on multiple occasions. But this team, led by maybe the most stoic coach of all time, and one of the most even-keeled (all-)star point guards in the league, continues to stick together and silence their doubters.
And what’s been so amazing to see, is that they seem to play their best when their backs are up against the wall and the critics are at their loudest. Go New York Knicks!