But James, who recently decided to take his social media talents to the Los Angeles Lakers, has also used platforms like Twitter and Instagram to give his tens of millions of followers peeks behind the curtain — with glimpses of his off-season workouts. At various junctures of his career, James has posted snippets of himself running full-court sprints, balancing on inflatable balls and rapping to himself in a weight room. “The one where he was bald?” Damyean Dotson, the Knicks’ second-year guard, asked recently. “That one was funny, man. Good song, too.”
October 16, 2018 | 3:39 pm EDT Update
Stefan Bondy: Scott Perry on if it’s a risk letting Porzingis become free agent: “I’m not going to get into predicting anything about the future. I would just reiterate that I think as a group and we have a shared goal of making the Knicks a very good basketball team going into the long term.”
Steve Popper: Fizdale on the decision to start Ntilkina, not Knox: I went back into the lab and I watched the film and I looked at the numbers, really got into our culture and I said, I really felt like Frank earned it. I felt like would help prod Kevin a little more.
Mike Vorkunov: Kevin Knox was set as a starter after preseason but Frank Ntilikina won the job after Fizdale reviewed it. “Most important thing I was trying to get out of it was culturally you’ve got to earn it. I don’t think Kevin got to the point where he earned it more than Frank.” — Fizdale
In China, he was unable to communicate, and therefore out of his element. A player from another team taught Whiteside how to greet: “Wǒ shì nǐ bàba”—hi, nice to meet you. He said it to everyone at home, on the road, in the gym. There were never any “you, too’s” in return, only blank stares. Well into the season, Whiteside found out from his team’s general manager that he was actually saying “I’m your daddy.” Whiteside immediately recognized the player in the layup line a year later, after he had left for Lebanon again, then returned back to China. He wishes he had dunked on him. Wǒ shì nǐ bàba.
That progress stalled in the 2017-18 season. And it felt impossible to get in gear from the sidelines. “Especially,” Whiteside says, “when you can see a game and you know you can help.” We’re settled inside now, sitting in leather chairs made for 7-footers. Last season’s body language experts would be picking him apart: slumped shoulders, looking in the distance as he’s talking. “Maybe our record would have been different. We would have been a whole different seed in the playoffs.” He knows he was sluggish after missing so much time—28 games total, nine in March. Less agile, slower, and trying to catch up on Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra’s schemes. I ask if he feared being forgotten again. “I can avoid that,” he says. Avoid what? “Falling back to people not knowing.”