Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
At West Point, Noah, Plumlee Reveal Knicks’ Split Opinions on Role of Military
WEST POINT, N.Y. –– The Knicks’ decision to hold training camp at West Point for a third straight year has inspired split opinions within the team on matters related to current events.
Veteran Joakim Noah came out Friday and announced he had skipped a team dinner with Cadets on Thursday night because he’s opposed to war, while rookie Marshall Plumlee, a member of the Army reserves, told me he thinks it was a great idea to hold camp at West Point.
“It’s hard for me a little bit,” Noah said Friday afternoon, according to Newsday. “I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it’s hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world? So I have mixed feelings about being here.
“I’m very proud of this country. I love America, but I just don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said the franchise understood and supported Noah’s actions.
“Well, that’s his right,” Hornacek said. “He wants to be a part of the team and do everything the team is doing. He just didn’t feel comfortable. We’re not going to pressure him into doing that. We had the speaker who I thought was fantastic. I told him, maybe we can get a little copy, if there’s a copy of the speech, just so he can hear some of it. That’s his right.
“In all his stuff that he does against gun violence and all that, he just didn’t feel comfortable, so that’s plenty fine with us.”
West Point issued a statement on Friday that said, “We are disappointed and feel Mr. Noah’s choice of West Point to make a statement is inappropriate because of the great sacrifice that has originated from this institution over our nation’s history.”
Noah is a respected NBA veteran, a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the son of former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah.
Meantime, Plumlee is a rookie who has not expressed strong opinions one way or the other, but he did say he enjoyed being around the Cadets at West Point.
“It’s exciting for me and I know firsthand how much the Army has helped me grow and develop as a basketball player and as a leader so to be exposed to the training grounds where West Point is making our world’s best and brightest leaders,” Plumlee told me. “There’s so much discipline and hard work going on here, I know it’s going to benefit our team. It benefited me. For us to be exposed to this I think was a great decision by our front office.”
Plumlee has also Tweeted support for the New York Police Dept. in the aftermath of the recent terrorist bombing in Chelsea.
Grateful for the #NYPD and all of their hard work to keep NYC safe in the aftermath of the #Chelsea explosion. #TrueHeroes
Between America’s fight with global terrorism and a spate of police killings of African-Americans here at home, it’s no surprise that West Point has become a flashpoint for different opinions on key issues.
Meantime, Carmelo Anthony has said the team is still considering an appropriate action in terms of opposing social injustice here at home the way San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has.
“We want to do it in the right way,” Anthony said at Media Day of the Knicks’ plans to raise awareness. “Whatever we do, we want to do it as a collective group. I don’t know what that is yet. We’ll figure that out. But we want to do it all together. We want everybody to feel a part of it.
“We want everybody to have a right to make their own decisions about what they want to do. And we’ll go from there. Everybody sees what’s going on out there in the sports world and what everybody is talking about.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.