This season, due to COVID-19, 101 players have earned 120 call-ups to the NBA, which is a G League record. This three-part series is an in-depth look at how the process works and what it means for gamers to achieve their childhood dreams. We continue our saga with nine-year NBA veteran Brandon Knight.
There are players in sports who are hard to hate. No matter what team you support, it’s hard to find a reason to be mad at Matthew Stafford for winning a Super Bowl. It’s hard to hate a guy like Giannis Antetokounmpo who came from a very young age and has now become an NBA champion. There’s too much good in these guys to upset them.
Skyforce is very lucky to have a guy like this in Brandon Knight, who is very likable on and off the field.
Knight circled the block a few times. He was the eighth overall pick in Kentucky’s 2011 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Before landing with Skyforce, Knight played for Milwaukee, Phoenix, Houston and Cleveland.
His career has had a few low points. During the 2017-18 season, Knight suffered a serious knee injury which sidelined him for some time.
Since then, he had to fight to prove himself worthy of being an NBA player.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding,” Knight said. “It has been transformational. The person I am today versus the person I was when I was injured are two completely different people. I grew up, my perspective widened. I have become a much more complete individual.
Knight excelled in his role as a team leader for the Skyforce. The young formation depends on him. When the going gets tough, they watch it.
Not only has Knight excelled at being the leader of this team, but he’s shown that he’s still more than capable of being a hard-hitting player in the league.
In the Showcase Cup, Knight had 21.3 points on 39.7 percent from the field and 5.8 assists per game in 38.0 minutes per game. Knight has had five 24+ games in his last six Showcase Cup games.
His excellent play in the showcase portion of the season earned him a well-deserved NBA call-up during the 2021 NBA G League Winter Showcase. He helped Skyforce to a victory in Las Vegas by scoring 25 points, grabbing five rebounds and adding four assists.
On December 23, 2021, Knight signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
“There were a lot of emotions,” Knight said. “Some frustration escaped after being out of the league for a bit. There were tears that came out: tears of joy, tears of frustration. It’s been such a long journey. But overall , it was just gratitude. I’m grateful to be playing wherever I am, but I’m so grateful to just have the chance to be back on stage and have an opportunity.
The Dallas Mavericks are considering signing free agent guard Brandon Knight to a tough 10-day contract, a source has told ESPN. Knight played for Sioux Falls of the G-League, where he had 25 points on Tuesday night. Knight, 30, is a nine-year NBA veteran.
— Adrien Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 22, 2021
If you have the opportunity to be around Knight, you will learn that grateful is one of the most used words in his vocabulary.
There’s not a second of his journey that he’s not grateful to have, especially when opportunity isn’t knocking on your door much when you’ve just turned 30.
“Once you get to that age, you realize it’s not promised,” Knight said. “When you’re younger you think ‘I’m going to take so many beatings, I’ll always be here’, but with the cases and the injuries that’s not the case. But for me to get that call-up was like starting over from the beginning. You still have that dream of being in the NBA, so you go back to your roots to dream again. I’m more grateful this second time. It makes a lot more sense this time.
Knight may be 30, but the NBA recall made him feel like the 19-year-old out of Kentucky.
“Literally, I was like a kid again,” Knight said. “The second time around, I didn’t take it for granted. I took it as I should have been the first time. My jersey is hanging in the locker, I take pictures of everything like ‘Look at my name is on the jersey!’ I have teammates like Kristaps Porzingis, who is a unicorn, and Boban Marjanović. The child in me and the basketball fan in me have been rekindled. I’m just a kid looking around the arena saying “Wow”. It’s as if I had never been there, and I have the chance to start fresh.
Knight’s journey has taught him a lot about the importance of building relationships around him.
Every person he meets he wants to have a positive impact because they could be on the same path together again in the future.
“When I was in Dallas, I was enjoying the moments and really cherishing the relationships,” Knight said. “I wasn’t going to get into this and not get to know the guys and lay the groundwork for the future. This could very well be a place where I could end up. Wherever I go, I will serve the guys, the team and the coaches.
— Bally Sports South West (@BallySportsSW) December 28, 2021
As Knight built new relationships in Dallas, he had the unique opportunity to rekindle an old one.
During the 2014-2015 NBA season, Knight was playing with the Milwaukee Bucks. At that time, the Bucks were coached by Jason Kidd, who is currently in his first season as coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
“It was great to reconnect with Kidd,” Knight said. “I grew a lot as a player and as a person, and he grew a lot as a coach and as a person. Jason is, and always will be, a great basketball spirit. That was great to go back and reconnect with him and be with a coach who has taught me so much throughout my career.
Knight had an impressive stint in Dallas. In three games, Knight averaged 10 points on 45 percent from the field, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game.
His best game came on December 27 against the Trail Blazers where he scored 18 points on 50% shooting, along with five assists and three rebounds in just 24 minutes.
“It was quick,” Knight said. “10 days isn’t a lot of time, but it was fulfilling. These are the relationships and experiences that you keep all your life. Even though it wasn’t long, I believe you plant seeds and they can grow into something great later.
Knight is more concerned with others than himself. He believes it’s that selflessness and hard work that will bring him back to the NBA again.
“I strongly believe in taking care of people,” Knight said. “Taking care of myself is taking care of others. It’s cool to have individual goals, but you have to serve the season well.
While I’m here, this is my team, this is my family. I’m here to train guys and help Skyforce be the best team they can be. You reap what you sow. Improving everyone will make you better. You take care of what surrounds you and everything you want will be there for you.