The New York Knicks of the 2000s were known for their aggressive style of play. If you played that team you were going to feel it in the morning. The team’s grit led them to the NBA Finals in 1999. The most notable players on the roster were Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, and Larry Johnson but one underrated player on the roster was young, scrappy guard Chris Childs.
Childs may have only averaged 6.8 points per game for his Knicks career, but his role was never to be a star but rather irritate other stars. Childs’ arguably most famed moment in his 11-year NBA career, happened when he came to blows with a Hall of Famer.
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Chris Childs Sounds off on His Relationship With Kobe
In an April 2000 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Childs and late Laker Legend, Kobe Bryant were in a heated duel going bucket for bucket. Things got a little too heated as Childs and Bryant came to blows as and they would both be sent to the locker room early. Childs admits although he and Kobe never became friends, he had the utmost respect for the late Hall of Famer.
“We never sat down and talked about it; we were competitors. We weren’t friends;” Childs said to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of Bally Sports. “We didn’t go to dinner, but we had mutual respect for each other as far as how we played the game and how we prepared, and I have nothing but respect for that man for what he’s done on the court and off the court.”
Kobe was preparing for an even bigger second act after he retired from the NBA. He had already become the first former pro-athlete to win an Oscar award for his short Dear Basketball and was trying his hand at coaching girls’ basketball, including his daughter Gianna. Childs says he plans to honor Kobe by coaching girls’ basketball in his community in the future.
“If I can take a fraction of that and give back to the community; give back to girls basketball and give back to what I do which is mentoring young men and trying to help them become exceptional men, then I’ve done his legacy proud and hopefully others can follow suit,” Childs said.
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Childs Details What It Is Like Guarding Michael Jordan
Childs spent the first two years of his career with the Nets when the team was in New Jersey. The California native’s most vivid memory with the Nets was when he was charged with the task of guarding Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
“I remember vividly when I was with the Nets and I wasn’t starting at the time and Butch [Beard] put me in and I remember him saying to me, ‘You got Mike.’ and I said, ‘Alright, no problem,’ “Childs said. “I’m guarding him and I’m 6’3” and Michael’s 6’6”, but I knew that I would have to get him off his spot and use my strength to take advantage because if he got me down 12-11 feet, he’s going to jump and shoot over me, so I had to push him out to 15-17 feet where I had the advantage.”
Childs was never the most physically gifted or athletic player, but he was going to make you earn every point. He was a pest that often aggravated the opposing team.
“So, he did a move, and I knocked the ball out of his hand, and he looked over at the bench to Paul Silas and said, ‘Who is this b**?’. I didn’t hear it, but Paul Silas said in return, ‘At the end of the game, you’re gonna know who he is!’ That right there let me know I had arrived and just getting him riled up let me know that I could go out there and compete against the best,” Childs said.
The Knicks could use a defensive irritant like Childs as the front office pools through free agents this offseason.