Julius Randle’s heartwarming Knicks moment speaks volumes
This all comes down to family.
On the court and off.
So when the Knicks came away with a rare victory, 124-121 over the Heat on Sunday at the Garden, Julius Randle, who scored a game-high 26 points, went directly to his wife, Kendra, and their son, Kyden, for a hug and some loving words.
This was Randle’s first game back after missing two games following the death of his grandmother, Annie Page. Before the game, the Knicks held a moment of silence for her.
On such an emotional day and after an emotional win, it was important for Randle to soak in the moment and remember his grandmother, who was 85, with family members. The hulking 6-foot-9, 250-pounder then walked his son onto the floor to be with his other family, his Knicks teammates, as they huddled at center court.
Yes, this is pro sports and it is always about wins and losses, but never forget that there is a human element to the game and to teams. The Knicks have stayed strong together as a group.
“My grandmother left an incredible legacy and mark on my life and my family,’’ Randle said later in the Knicks locker room in a solemn voice.
“It’s been tough. It’s still going to be tough. But tonight was special. I really felt her out there the whole time.’’
Randle wasn’t sure he was even going to be able to play Sunday he was so emotionally spent. The Knicks needed him. They needed everyone to beat the Heat.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak. It has not only been a most difficult season for the 11-29 Knicks on the court, but it has been difficult off the court with such terrible family losses. Dennis Smith Jr.’s stepmother passed away earlier this season and Reggie Bullock’s sister was shot and killed in Baltimore, the second sister he has lost to tragic circumstances.
Randle, 25, took it all in and spoke about the importance of family.
“I’ve got an amazing mom, and wife who have been extremely strong throughout the whole process,’’ he explained. “I didn’t feel ready [to play] but being around these guys is like family to me. It was great.’’
The Knicks have had to console one another. Behind closed doors they have had to lean on one another to simply get through the day.
“It’s tough when you lose somebody so important to you,’’ Randle said. “We had a couple of incidents, a couple of things have happened to us as a group, it affects you, it affects all of us. I cried when these dudes lost their family members. And I felt the same compassion from them. It’s tough, man but you’ve got to keep going.’’
Isn’t that’s what life is all about? Keep going.
“It was hard,’’ Randle said. “But there is unbelievable support here from top to bottom: ownership, Steve [Mills] Scott [Perry], coaches, teammates, everybody has offered amazing support. It’s never going to be an easy process, but it relieves a little bit of stress and pain just being around these guys. Like I said, it’s family.’’
Randle’s grandmother would have been proud to see how Randle handled the day, and played so hard down the stretch as the Knicks amazingly scored 40 points in the fourth quarter to beat a team that had not lost two games in a row all season until Sunday.
That is why at the end of the work day, and a tough week, it was time to take his son on the court.
“I have him around a lot, honestly,’’ said Randle, who took his family to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. “I want him while he’s still young — he’s just turned 3 — I want him to experience my life and what I do on a every-day basis. So I have him around a lot. He loves basketball. It’s kind of like how I was as a kid and how he’s interested in it and how much he loves to play basketball. I just try to have him around as much as possible. I want him to experience everything with me, as much as he can.’’
Julius Randle knows the value of family.
For more on the Knicks, listen to the latest episode of the “Big Apple Buckets” podcast:
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