James Dolan may be a Trump donor, but the Knicks’ latest hire has strong ties to the previous administration.
Craig Robinson, the brother of former First Lady Michelle Obama, has accepted a front-office position with the Knicks concentrating on player development, a source confirmed of a Yahoo! report. The 55-year-old worked one year in a similar position with the Milwaukee Bucks, as the Vice President of Player and Organizational Development.
Prior to that, Robinson was the head coach at Brown University and Oregon State for a combined eight seasons, amassing a 124-133 record. Robinson is also a former Princeton teammate of Knicks president Steve Mills, and both graduated with degrees in sociology.
It’s hard to imagine they took a tougher course than ‘Fixin’ the Knicks.’
Under Mills, the team has added people to three front office positions (two more than Phil Jackson ever did): Robinson in a player development role, Scott Perry as GM and Gerald Madkins as an assistant GM. It’s unclear who the Knicks will push out of the front office as a result, but Vice President of Player Personnel Clarence Gaines is a strong candidate as the only holdover brought in by Jackson.
As the Knicks push their youth movement, player development – Robinson’s role — becomes paramount. During Robinson’s lone season in Milwaukee, the team developed an unlikely Rookie of the Year in Malcolm Brogdon.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are trying to build around Kristaps Porzingis, 22, Willy Hernangomez, 23, Tim Hardaway Jr., 25 and Frank Ntilikina, 19.
“We have some very talented young players on this team that we can grow with,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said last month. “The veterans can help in that development and you never know what happens – these young guys, maybe they’re ready . . .”
Robinson had an active role in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and introduced Michelle at the Democratic National Convention. He also once green-lighted Barack to date his sister after a pickup game that doubled as a vetting process.
“When I played basketball with Barack, he was quietly confident, which means he had good self-esteem without being cocky. He was certainly a team player — he wasn’t a pig, he passed when he was supposed to pass, and he cut when he was supposed to cut. To me, that speaks to a lack of selfishness,” Robinson told Esquire Magazine.
Dolan might disagree. The Knicks owner pledged money to help elect Obama’s opponents in 2008 and 2012 – John McCain and Mitt Romney, respectively. More recently, he donated over $ 300,000 to help get Donald Trump elected.
The Knicks announced Monday the signing of wing Damyean Dotson, the 44th overall pick who impressed in Summer League. Dotson, 23, a 6-6 guard out of the University of Houston.
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