It’s always an unforgettable moment when a player makes his NBA debut, but for some people, the circumstances render it all the more exhilarating. That’s what happened to Marshall Plumlee on Sunday afternoon when he got a last-minute call from the Knicks to suit up for their game against the Hawks at Madison Square Garden.
Plumlee, who’d been sent down to the Knicks’ D-League affiliate in Westchester, had to take a train to Grand Central, then cab it from there to the arena. But the traffic was apparently so bad he had to bribe the driver with a $60 tip to speed through the streets and run a red light so he would make it on time. Here are more details of Plumee’s frenzied odyssey through Manhattan, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“I was asleep,’’ Plumlee said. “I was going to sleep in a little bit. Imagine being woken up and saying, ‘Hey, we need you to guard Dwight Howard.’’’
“I sprinted over as fast as I could,’’ Plumlee said. “… My phone was blowing up: ‘Are you almost here? Are you almost here?’ I don’t think they realize those texts just slow you down so I put the phone away.
“But I got here. They said, ‘Do you need a warm-up?’
“I’m already warm. I ran here.’’
And what thanks did Plumlee get for his efforts? Precisely the task of checking Dwight Howard, which didn’t go particularly well, as evidenced by this play where Kent Bazemore was visibly amused when he saw Plumlee matched up against Howard on the block, right before he tossed him an alley-oop for the easy dunk.
Plumlee finished with zero points in five minutes of action and grabbed just one rebound, but the Knicks still got the 104-94 win. The harrowing ordeal of his NBA debut makes for an excellent story that Plumlee will now doubt be telling his grandkids about one day.