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From the late 70s to now: Knicks’ Jalen Brunson spills on his bond with Tom Thibodeau


The 2023-24 season has been something of a magical year for Jalen Brunson in his second season with the New York Knicks. Not only did he earn a spot in the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, he has helped lead the Knicks to a 33-22 record as they return to action from the All-Star break Thursday night at home against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Brunson has played brilliantly for the Knicks and he has become one of the top scorers in the league. He is averaging 27.6 points per game and he is connecting on 48.3 percent of his shots from the field, including 41.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Brunson and New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau have a long-lasting relationship that goes back to Brunson’s childhood. Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, has worked with Thibodeau at several of his coaching stops, and that allowed the Knicks head coach to get to know Jalen Brunson from an early age.

The Knicks star guard said that while the two know each other well, he does not have favored status as a result.

“Then my dad also coached with Thibs with the Bulls, so that’s why I moved to Chicago and then he was with the Timberwolves with Thibs,” Jalen Brunson said. “So I’ve known Thibs pretty much my whole life. When I got to here, this dude pushes me the same way I saw him push any other player. He doesn’t really give me special treatment, he’ll yell at me, he’ll yell at me like I could have a wide open shot in the corner and he’s going to yell at me for something.”

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About the Author

Steve Silverman has been covering the NFL for more than 35 years, and his writing has appeared in ESPN Magazine, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Pro Football Weekly, and He has written 10 books, including “Who’s Better, Who’s Best in the NFL.” He has won multiple awards from the Pro Football Writers of America.


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