The New York Knicks still haven’t hired a new head coach, although it’s almost a poorly-held secret at this point that Tom Thibodeau is going to be the guy to replace interim coach Mike Miller, who replaced the fired David Fizdale.
The Knicks interviewed at least a dozen candidates this time, and the last time their coaching carousel spun, NYC prep legend turned NBA star turned TNT analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith was one of those who earned an interview for the job that eventually went to Fizdale.
And if you want to talk about New York celebrity cache, well, take it from Smith himself on how that can be good and bad vis-à-vis his job interview, as he told Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray on WFAN’s Moose and Maggie Show on Wednesday.
“Interestingly enough, we had to go to a private room. We went out to eat, and I forgot that I’m Kenny Smith from TNT – so I’m going on an interview and thinking, ‘make sure you wear this, make sure you say this,’ you know, make sure you’re prepared, and then everyone is like, ‘yo, Kenny! What’s up with those Lakers man?’” Smith laughed. “It was a constant barrage of people looking at me and talking to me like I’m still on TNT, so we had to move into a private room. It was an interesting moment and dynamic, when you’re interviewing for a job and people treat you like you’re in your current job.”
The Jet has been a winner at every level – he was a McDonald’s All-American at Archbishop Molloy and an NCAA All-American at North Carolina, and captured two NBA titles in Houston – and is part of the pre-eminent basketball panel on national television. And that, he said, was the message he gave Knicks brass when he interviewed.
“How do we make I into we? I know how to do that,” he said. “I was just blessed to be part of we on multiple occasions. High school, winning city titles. College, No. 1 team in the country at North Carolina. NBA championships, then you go to TNT – my thing was trying to express how you do that.”
He didn’t get the job, and the guy who did get it didn’t last long, but now, Smith believes the Knicks, with a new brain trust and coach coming soon, are set up for future success.
“I thought, with the resources New York has, it was a great opportunity. Thibs and Leon Rose have a great opportunity to turn I into we, because there are resources,” Smith said. “When Knicks fans always say they can’t believe things did or didn’t happen, it’s because the Knicks have resources that can make things happen instantly, unlike other places.”
Smith was the Mystery Guest on Wednesday’s Moose and Maggie Show, and you can listen to his entire segment below – and, as always, you can check out more on-demand audio from Moose & Maggie, or tune in every day to the WFAN.com or Twitch.TV/WFAN livestreams of the show!