New York Knicks Visit Wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C.
The New York Knicks had plenty of time to kill between their preseason-opening road win against the Washington Wizards on Monday and their game against the same team at Madison Square Garden on Friday. But rather than using the following day to practice or see the sights around Washington, D.C., head coach David Fizdale and his players—including Taj Gibson, Dennis Smith Jr., Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Wayne Ellington and Marcus Morris—spent Tuesday morning visiting wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“I felt it would be a good idea,” David said, per Newsday. “We were staying over because we can’t fly back because of construction. I said let’s not waste this opportunity.
“To visit these soldiers, it does something for the soldiers, but for a young team it gives a perspective and makes you appreciate what you have, hopefully gives them an understanding what service and selflessness is. What I’m asking isn’t anything compared to what these guys are giving.”
The whole team, along with executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry, went to the hospital to sign autographs and take pictures, with the aforementioned players visiting patients in their rooms. For David, such visits were common during his years as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat, though he wasn’t able to accompany the players to the hospital itself.
This time, though, he got to take in the all-around experience while doing his part to shift his players’ perspective ahead of this season.
“We talk about sacrificing in the NBA,” Julius said. “Those guys made the ultimate sacrifice. A lot of things happened to them and they’re still 100 percent committed to what they’re doing. I’m excited and it’s a good experience for all of us.”
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.