The first month of the season has been a lot of hard work — and very exciting. Being one of the newest members of the Knicks couldn’t feel more natural.
I spent last season with the Spurs, but putting on the blue and orange and stepping onto the court for my first game in the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, was something special ... and it’s only preseason!
There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to this season, but using my playoff experience and veteran leadership to help us be successful is the top priority. Having the chance to play for Mike D’Antoni with this group of young, athletic talent is an opportunity I couldn’t wait to take. Learning the D’Antoni system with nine other new players has really energized me.
During the first few weeks of training camp it felt like we were running non-stop. But working with Coach Mike, you realize he’s not asking for much. He wants us to make smart choices on the court and have fun. I think our team goals are pretty defined: improve with each game and make the playoffs.
One perk to all the hard work we’ve been putting in was getting to spend eight days in Milan and Paris. This definitely helped us bond more quickly than staying in the States would have. Danilo Gallinari took us all to one of his favorite restaurants, Ristorante Giannino, where we quickly learned Gallo is the “Mayor of Milan.” My mom and sister flew out for a few days and came to our game in Milan.
It was Fashion Week while we were in Paris, so I checked out the Marithé et François Girbaud show in my down time. It was pretty cool to see how it compared to Fashion Week in New York.
One thing I’m learning is that nothing beats New York! I’d like to say that I’m slowly becoming a New Yorker. I’ve even been walking my English bulldog, Ocho, in Central Park. New York is a special place and this is going to be an exciting season for us all!
Roger Mason Jr., 30, plays guard for the Knicks.