As the summer draws to a close, TOK has found itself with as much football fever as any other ‘Merican. You’ve already seen the greatness that Charlie Ward and Nate Robinson exemplified on the gridiron before suiting up for the New York Knicks, but before we start celebrating real NFL games that actually count, we’ve got one more tidbit of Knicks/football history to share with you.
It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Riley’s hard-nosed mentality came from a football background. The 90′s Knicks were as tough of a basketball team as you’ll ever find, but long before Pat was leading teams to victory on the hardwood, he was a dual sport athlete at the University of Kentucky. After his college athletics career ended with a loss to Texas Western that was famously recreated in the movie “Glory Road,” Riley found himself drafted by both the San Diego Rockets of the NBA and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. He didn’t have much success as a basketball player, but once Pat started calling the shots as a coach, the rest was history.
You have to believe that a defensive line of Mason/Oakley/Ewing could have wreaked as much havoc on the gridiron as it did on the hardwood. Throw in the aforementioned Charlie Ward and some headstrong offensive pieces like John Starks, Doc Rivers, and Chris Childs and you have the making of a halfway decent football team.
Smith wisely chose the NBA right out of high school, but he was also a highly recruited as a football player too. Clemson reportedly offered him a scholarship based solely on game film and since he’s one of the more athletically gifted players in the NBA, you have to think his 6-6 frame would make him a prime wide receiver in the NFL. Plus, you have to be a tough guy in order to drive a vehicle like this.
No video proof of Smith’s football dominance has surfaced yet, so we leave you with this 94-foot touchdown pass he threw during warmups in his Denver days.