Tim Hardaway Jr. used to be the only Knick that grew up with a professional athlete as a father. Until Kevin Knox joined the team.
Knox' father, Kevin Knox Sr., was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round back in 1994 after four seasons as a wide receiver at Florida State. Despite only playing two games with the Cardinals over his NFL career, Knox Sr. totaled 1,431 yards on 102 receptions with 11 touchdowns over his FSU career that saw a national championship game in 1993.
So, Kevin has grown up knowing exactly what it takes to make it to the pros.
"He just knows what it takes to get to the highest level," Knox told Newsday's Steve Popper of his father. "He's been under this pressure. He's played in the national championship game, big-time winning teams. He knows that pressure, what it takes as far as winning, being that young."
The younger Knox has more pressure than his father ever did, coming into New York City as the eighth overall draft pick in 2018. And at the ripe age of 19, Knox is already expected to be a vital asset in the Knicks' rebuilding process.
It has been so far, so good for the Kentucky product despite some shooting woes in the preseason. There will be some woes and tribulation for the rookie, and criticism will certainly follow. But Knox says his father prepared him for those situations very early.
"My dad, he yelled and screamed at me all the time," Knox said. "So when I got to [John Calipari] in college and Fiz, I mean, it's just so natural the yelling and screaming and all that stuff. My dad doesn't cuss, so I mean, he just constantly yelling and screaming, always hard on you, hard working. At a certain age you just get used to it. And I've kind of adapted to it. It helps when you go to other coaches."
Knox said his father stopped coaching him once began playing competitive AAU basketball around seventh and eighth grade. But, even though he isn't on the bench with his son anymore, doesn't mean Knox Sr. isn't critiquing his eldest son.
"After every game he'll give me his critique, give me some tips for the next game," Knox said of his father. "But every time I talk to my dad he's giving me extra tips, extra advice. That's just who he is. I mean, as a pro player. It's the same probably for Tim, his dad will give him advice. If you're a pro player and you're watching your son you're always going to have advice."
Knox Sr. will certainly give his son advice as he joined him this week in New York coming from his home in Florida. His son will have one more preseason game against the Nets before playing his first regular season bout at Madison Sqaure Garden against the Hawks on Oct. 17.
The truth is, Knox has already soaked in lessons he'll be thinking about before, during, and after that first tip.
"He taught me throughout my whole life, just staying disciplined, staying respectful, manners, all that stuff," Knox said. "You never know who's watching. Somebody could be watching wanting to sign you, to do a deal or something like that. Basically, one thing he always told me is stay professional at all times."