Draft night is meant to be a celebration for each NBA prospect going through the process. All of their vigorous work on and off the basketball court over the years is built up for one special night, where their dreams finally turn into reality.
For former Kentucky star Kevin Knox, that celebration quickly turned into disappointment on Thursday night.
Knox was selected by the New York Knicks with the No. 9 pick, an outcome most expected in the hours leading up to the draft. Nearly all NBA analysts projected New York as the landing spot for the 6-foot-9 forward, including Knicks media members.
For some reason, Knicks fans didn’t catch the memo, and showered Knox with boos when his name was called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
At first I thought Kevin Knox was the wrong pick. Then the Knicks fans boo’d him so he must be amazing pic.twitter.com/IWXDpeiOEt
— Per Sources (@PerSources) June 22, 2018
It was the same reaction Knicks fans gave Kristaps Porzingis back in 2015 when he was selected with the No. 4 pick.
Kentucky basketball legend Kenny “Sky” Walker, another former Knicks first-round draft selection, said it’s just the way it goes with New York fans.
“(The Knicks) could choose Jesus Christ, and I think Knicks fans will boo or find some fault,” Walker told the Herald-Leader. “Or say, ‘Nah, this is not the guy. He is not going to help us.’”
The reaction Knox received was selfish and ignorant, just as it was when Porzingis was selected in 2015. Above all else, it just goes to show Knicks fans don’t know how to learn from their mistakes. Porzingis went on to average 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and two blocks per contest over the course of his first three seasons with the team, where he’s now considered the future of the franchise and one of the top players in the league.
Oh, and he’s a fan-favorite in New York. Funny how fast things change.
Like Porzingis, Knox is excited to make fans regret their embarrassing first impression.
“I’m not going to be upset,” Knox told the media on Friday. “I’m not going to cry about it… It’s motivation, fuel to the fire.”
He also told reporters at his introductory news conference that Porzingis reached out to him immediately after he was drafted.
“He asked, ‘How did the fans react?’” Knox said. “I said, ‘I got the same boos you got.’ He said, ‘Just work, and sooner or later they’ll be cheering for you.’”
With greatness comes challenges …….and I accept the challenge. To the New York Knicks fans, I am here to help this team win. Proud to be a New York Knick!!! ??
— Kev (@KevKnox) June 23, 2018
Knicks fans can boo all they want now, but they got the player with the most upside in the entire NBA Draft. He’ll shine under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden before we know it.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) June 22, 2018
Show ’em what you’ve got, Kevin.