David Fizdale has a tough job. His Knicks are 9–24 on the season. They’ve lost three straight, they’re one of the two or three worst defensive teams in basketball, and Kristaps Porzingis is out indefinitely. A lesser coach might struggle to conjure motivational messages any more vivid than “the gigantic Latvian will save us” out of the situation, but Fizdale is a man who can find inspiration in, well, literal piles of dog shit. It turns out this trait makes him an ideal man for the job of Knicks head coach.
This positivity came up in Monday’s episode of MSG Network’s Conference Room B show, when Fizdale told the excellent story of how lawn sprinklers, squirrels, a dog fight, actual poop, and several noticeable cuts to his own face and hands combined for a teachable moment (scroll ahead to 10:25 in the video below).
Fizdale says he made the mistake of leaving his sprinklers on overnight, which turned his yard into a field of ice the following morning. When two of his five dogs got riled up chasing squirrels and started fighting each other, Fizdale marched out to break it up, whereupon he bloodied and befouled himself by wiping out on the ice. Fizdale tells the story well, and you really should watch his version, in no small part because his face and hands are still bearing the scars from the unfortunate event. But here’s the climax:
“So I’m laying on the grass—I told this story to the team just to kinda give them a laugh and a boost—I’m laying in dog poop and pee in the yard, in ice, and I’m bleeding, and I just start laughing, on my back. Welcome to New York City, and get your butt up. And so that was the message to the team, is, ‘hey, we’re getting punched, and that’s okay, you young dudes, we’re all gonna go through this together, but we’re gonna get up together.’”
Sadly, the Knicks failed to get their wounded butts up from the icy poop field Wednesday night, falling to the 76ers by the score of 131–109.