Ronny Turiaf crammed his New York City basketball education into one long day Monday. His tour hit the grassroots late last night.
Hours after he was introduced officially as a Knick at the team's training facility in Greenburgh, Turiaf made his way uptown to Rucker Park on the corner of 155th street and Frederick Douglass Blvd in Harlem to take in the Entertainer's Basketball Classic. Turiaf -- who decided to take the trip uptown after dining in Manhattan at a French Restaurant -- said he trekked to Harlem to see both the fabled Rucker Park Court, and the celebrity faceoff between Free Agent Wide Receiver Terrell Owens and the Bengals Chad Ochocinco.
After Rucker Park's announcer's picked out the 6-foot-10 corn-row sporting Turiaf -- who was sporting a dress suit without a tie -- from the Rucker crowd, the announcer demanded Turiaf make his way out from the corner behind the bleachers to the court.
"Don't be shy Ronny, you're in New York now," shouted the game's MC.
Turiaf, then shacked up on the sideline, signed some autographs, and left the Park prior to the game's conclusion. Newsday tracked down Turiaf on Frederick Douglass Blvd and spoke to the new Knick as he walked to his car. Here is what he had to say about an array of topics:
On his first day in the city:
“First day in New York was great. Press conference in the morning. And then I went to diner with my friends to a little French restaurant. And then I overheard on Twitter that Ochocinco was here.”
Thoughts on the EBC:
“Fantastic. I’ve seen DVD’s, I’ve seen all about Rucker Park, so I just wanted to get a feel for it myself, and I’m pretty happy I did it.”
Come uptown to see Rucker or Terrell vs. Chad:
Thoughts on the dunk midway through the first quarter where A.J. (Miles High) Milien snatched the ball from Owens and performed a reverse dunk much to the joy of the Rucker crowd:
“The dunk was just awesome, everybody seems to be happy. Enjoying the atmosphere, and I think that is what basketball should be all about.”
Have you ever seen a basketball environment like Rucker before?:
“Never (seen anything like that before). Everything. Everywhere I went for basketball, I went to, even if it was streetball and everything, always had a different atmosphere about it.”
Thoughts on officially being a Knick:
“Yeah, I’m definitely excited about being a Knick. I think it is a wonderful opportunity, and you get the opportunity to see so many different stuff. A different culture about everything, so I’m excited to see everything.”
For the starved Knick fans after years of losing, what are your thoughts on being a part of the process of getting back to being a contender:
“I’m excited to be apart of the process, to be apart of something to bring energy to everybody, and everything. We have a positive karma.”
Any projections or predictions for the season?:
“Can’t give projections for the season right now.”
Be sure to check back into Newsday.com for more from the Rucker Park tournament yesterday, including Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens thoughts on the Darrelle Revis situation on the The Boone Docks Jets blog and Owens and Ochocinco’s thoughts on the LeBron situation right here on The Knicks Fix.