The New York Knicks have used this season as an opportunity to build towards the future, and David Fizdale knows what problems he has to tackle with the young team. As it turns out, one of those problems is a video game.
Fizdale, the first-year coach with the Knicks, has taken the reigns and looked for signs of progress everywhere. The team was going to be without Kristaps Porzingis anyway, and young players like Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina could be the franchise’s future if they develop the right way. That’s led to a lot of stories about how Fizdale and the young Knicks are getting along. And some of the problems the team has had are a bit surprising.
For example, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic wrote a story about how Fizdale is worried his Knicks players are too obsessed over Fortnite, to the point where they’re missing sleep to play the astoundingly popular battle royale game. Fizdale has been quoted mentioning Fortnite a number of times this season, and it’s among his worries with the young Knicks he’s coaching.
Fizdale lamented the “online generation” and how they stay up late on their phones and, in the case of a number of Knicks, gaming.
“Some guys, I do,” he said. “You don’t know who it is at home doing it, but I think this generation, they are an online generation. Whether it’s communicating late in the night with people. Whether it’s reading stuff, watching stuff, playing video games at the end of the night. It’s still a bunch of blue light in their eyes keeping them up all night. I do get concerned with how much rest they get. How it affects reaction time and irritability, things like that. So, yeah. Guys are different. Some guys aren’t really into it like that. Then there’s other guys.”
Some Knicks players tried to downplay their obsession with the game, but it’s impact on the sports world and the rest of the planet has been significant. As everyone involved here notes, the Knicks could be getting into worse trouble than just staying up late in their hotel rooms trying to build digital shelter, but it’s a good example of how coaches have to deal with very different problems as the times change.