Family ties with Knicks brings ‘accountability’

Much has been made of the many Knicks connections that played an integral part in Landing new point guard Jalen Brunson.

Team president Leon Rose is Brunson’s former agent and a family friend. Brunson’s father, Rick, was recently added to coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff. And Brunson has a bond with Thibodeau himself, going back to his middle-school days.

On the podcast “The Old Man And The Three,” with JJ RedickBrunson explained why he felt that familiarity was important.

“I’m excited for it, because it’s a different level of accountability. They know I’m the type of person who likes to be coached and likes to be pushed,” he said. “To have someone like that, where you can possibly cross lines, but know it’s all out of love and all out of respect, they know what type of person I am, how I’m made up. I just know they’re going to push me, try to get the best out of me.”

Brunson’s decision to play for the Knicks was a full-circle choice. He grew up in southern New Jersey and attended Knicks games as a kid when his father played for the team. He had a mini Knicks hoop. His grandparents lived (and still live) on Long Island. Now, he will play for the team he watched and rooted for as a child.

Jalen Brunson
NBAE via Getty Images

“It’s surreal. It’s a special moment,” said Brunson, who owns a home at the Jersey Shore. “It’s still like the coolest thing ever.”

Brunson has reached out to the Knicks’ players who took part in the summer league and there are loose plans to get to know his new teammates and work out this summer.

“I think that’s key to hit the ground running once training camp starts,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until training camp to kind of start being vocal, start being somewhat of a leader. I got to take the reins early.

“What I mean by leader: I’m just trying to get guys on the same page. I love the fact that we can have a group of guys who are hard working, have good chemistry. If we can set that tone now, I think it would be great moving forward before training camp even starts.”


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