LONDON — The Knicks left behind New York, flying on a red-eye through the night and arriving in England with a day off and a chance to go behind the cameras for a day as tourists.
Damyean Dotson was shopping at Harrods, the five-acre department store. Luke Kornet was conducting his own guidebook for tourists, tweeting out his sightseeing adventures. Emmanuel Mudiay and former Knick John Starks were hosting a promotional event. Former Knick Latrell Sprewell was serving as a coach for a Jr. NBA event.
“We’ll tour all that stuff and try to do it in a way that doesn’t have them on their feet a lot,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said before departing on Monday.
“The whole beauty of that is learning about new culture and new food and stuff. You got to open up your mind and one of our big things is having a growth mindset. We talk about having a growth mindset. Part of that is being open to culture, being open to something that’s unfamiliar and different. We are going to try to.”
Kornet stopped by most of the famous tourist spots on Tuesday, adding his own admittedly bad jokes to accompany some of the tour.
“I haven’t been to London before but I actually have a good friend who’s from England,” Kornet said. “I think we’re staying down by the section of the London Eye, Big Ben and the more signature places. I really hope to just explore as much as I can while still being ready and prepared for the game.
“I don’t know if there’s anything in particular other than the main tourist destinations that I want to see. I know in past years, some teams have been able to go to an actual [Premier League] game, which I thought would be awesome, but we won’t be there during a time like that. Honestly, just being able to experience the culture and just kind of get a feel for the city is something that I’m excited to do. It’s always cool to go to a new place and it’s cool that the NBA can provide these kind of opportunities.”
While mostly they appeared bleary-eyed as they departed the bus from the airport after the overnight flight despite the best efforts to avoid jet lag, they assembled here to prepare for Thursday's game against the Wizards and win over fans in a foreign land as they struggle to hold onto their fans back home with a 10-33 record.
For Sprewell, who was unavailable for interviews, at least he did get the win in the game pitting a bunch of local grammar school players in Knicks jerseys against another group of schoolchildren in Wizards gear.
When it was over, he signed autographs for the kids, putting his imprint on whatever scraps of paper the children held in front of him or even the sneakers they pulled off their feet, warning each kid, “I hope you’re not going to get in trouble with your mom for this.”