When a knee injury put an end to Wally Szczerbiak’s 10-year NBA career in 2009, he was content to work a limited schedule talking college basketball for CBS’s cable sports outlet.
At the time his three children were under 8 years old, so there was plenty to keep him and his wife, Shannon, busy at home in Cold Spring Harbor, near where he starred in high school.
Starting this week, though, Szczerbiak will dive thoroughly into his second career, as MSG’s fulltime Knicks studio analyst, where he replaces Kelly Tripucka opposite Alan Hahn.
“When you retire you kind of take a few years to figure things out,’’ said Szczerbiak, an NBA All-Star in 2002 for the Timberwolves.
“This is something that came pretty naturally to me. I really enjoyed [the CBS work] . . . And when this opportunity arose, it was a perfect fit.’’
Szczerbiak, 35, a former Miami of Ohio star, will continue to do some college analysis for CBS, but he is looking forward to analyzing pros because he is not far removed from his NBA days.
“I played against all of these guys,’’ said Szcerbiak, who also had high-profile teammates, including LeBron James with the Cavaliers. “I know a lot of the coaches and teams . . . And I’ve always watched the Knicks, growing up on Long Island.’’
The 6-7 Szczerbiak and 6-6 Hahn go way back, from participating in the same pickup games at C.W. Post (where Hahn played) to having Hahn write about him during Hahn's days as a Newsday sports reporter.
“He can definitely play,’’ Szczerbiak said. (My testimony: While I never saw Hahn play, I did witness him dunk after a Knicks practice in Boston last year.)
Now all that matters is how well the two of them talk, starting with Thursday night’s opener.