My teammate went and told my coaches, ‘They were calling Jeremy a ch—k the whole first half.’ I didn’t say anything, because when that stuff happens, I kind of just, I go and bottle up where I go into turtle mode and don’t say anything and just internalize everything.
Accordig to Lin, that moment was a turning point because an assistant coach told him a story about racism he dealt with as a player. The coach told him he needs to find a way to use that to motivate him, and Lin says he did just that, and still does it when he hears taunts today.
Ultimately, D’Antoni resigned from the Knicks, but in a feature with ESPN The Magazine, the coach reveals what was kind of already known: he was forced out. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t putting up big numbers in D’Antoni’s offense and gave the Knicks an ultimatum.
Here’s how D’Antoni describes it, via ESPN:
In New York in 2012, after Anthony said the team needed to choose between him and D’Antoni, Mike made it easy. I just went in and quit, he says. Don’t say ‘quit,’ Laurel says. I hate that word. You resigned. You walked away. Mutually walked away. Mike rolls his eyes and turns to me. I quit, he says.
I remember it like it was yesterday, Durant said. All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s—. They were giggling with each other that I couldn’t lift 185 pounds, and I was like, ‘All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.’ It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn’t lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I’m like, ‘Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.’
These days the combine is televised, but back then the results were kept secret only among those who needed to know. But the Seattle Times obtained a report from the camp and wrote a story asking if Durant needed to have Buyer Beware stickers on him. The Times reported Durant’s overall performance ranked 78th out of 80 prospects.