This morning I was hoping to better understand Riley's new life strategy of cutting-and-running by delving into his "inspirational guide," The Winner Within. Instead, I stumbled upon this gem from the annals of New York Knick lore.
"On October 1st, 1991, one day before my very first training camp as as coach of the New York Knicks opened, we acquired a tough, no-nonsense highly aggressive, low-post player named Xavier McDaniel...Xavier was an emotional, driven-to-dominate forward--tough and muscular--and his disposition was to dominate his opponent. Anyone who fits that description is also a very territorial individual. You can bank on it.
"As it happened, we also had a like-minded first year player already on the team, named Anthony Mason. Mace grew up on the tough streets of Queens, and from the instant the two laid eyes on one another, it was obvious that something was bound to happen. Each knew the other's reputation. Through the introductions and preliminaries that began training camp, the two men seemed to be circling one another.
"Our first workout began with a no-contact rebound drill. It was just supposed to be a way to teach technique. As chance would have it, McDaniels and Mason got paired up. Then, suddenly, eighteen minutes into my first practice as a New York Knick coach, all hell broke loose. We had a full-blown two-man riot on our hands. McDaniel pounding both sides of Mason's head. Mason was answering with furious, lunging blows. It was one of those traveling fights: they collided under the basket, fought their way over to the sideline, then ricocheted out to the middle of the court. It finally ended as a draw.
"And that was it. For the rest of the season McDaniel and Mason were true teammates. Once they understood that they were both fierce competitors who wouldn't back down from intimidation, the dispute ended. They were ready to join their strengths for the Knicks. They were ready to declare their innocence."
[Update: Ricky Davis is still not ready to declare his innocence.]