Knicks power forward Julius Randle didn’t pull off a triple-double, but he pulled off the triple crown at All-Star Sunday. He competed in the Skills Competition, was used as a prop in the Slam Dunk Contest and played 13 minutes in his first All-Star Game.
Author: Marc Berman
Published: 2021-03-08 12:15 am
Julius Randle pulled off triple crown at NBA All-Star Sunday
nypost.com

Knicks power forward Julius Randle didn’t pull off a triple-double, but he pulled off the triple crown at All-Star Sunday.

He competed in the Skills Competition, was used as a prop in the Slam Dunk Contest and played 13 minutes in his first All-Star Game.

In limited action in the main event, Randle scored two early buckets — one on a driving powerhouse dunk — for four points and tossed an alley-oop pass to Donovan Mitchell for a dunk.

“It was a long day,’’ Randle said. “I’m not going to lie.’’

After playing in all 38 of the Knicks’ games and leading the NBA in total minutes, he was fine taking a backseat as his Team Durant suffered a 170-150 loss to Team LeBron.

“That’s a great thing,’’ Randle said of his limited minutes. “I’m leading the league in minutes. It’s a great thing. Trust me, I’m fine.

“It was great. Definitely everything I imagined to be part of it. I had a lot of fun, [was] excited. It’s something I want to be part of a lot more. It was a great experience, the conversations. It’s an experience I’ll never forget — the first one.’’

At halftime Knicks rookie Obi Toppin summoned Randle to stand alongside his father so he could leap over the two of them.

“I was confident,’’ Randle said. “He did it like 10 times [Saturday]. [Saturday], I was worried. Today, he did it so much I had nothing to worry about.’’

(image)
Doc Rivers of Team Durant talks to Julius Randle during the NBA All-Star Game..
NBAE via Getty Images

Last March 11, Randle was at a low point when he realized his first season as a Knick had ended because of the pandemic, cut short of turning his disappointing season around.

Flash forward a year later, and Randle and family were in Atlanta this weekend. His wife Kendra, whom he met at Kentucky, and son Kyden, now 4 years old, sat courtside at State Farm Arena on Sunday night.

That’s how fast life can change as a Knick.

“He’s enjoying it,’’ Randle said of his son. “He definitely knows it’s something that’s not normal and cool. He’s definitely loving that. He loves walking around saying he’s an all-star kid. He’s enjoying it.’’

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said entering the All-Star break Randle is playing like an “All-NBA player.” Three All-NBA teams are announced after the season and Randle’s numbers — if they keep up — could easily get him there if the Knicks make the playoffs.

Randle, 26, admitted on a recent podcast he cried when learning coaches had voted him as an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference.

“It was more, as much as being named All-Star, it was more the journey,’’ Randle said Sunday. “Appreciate the seven years so far in the league, the journey and process, year after year and the grind, hard work, sacrifice, commitment through the process. It made me reflect and appreciate that process more than anything.’’

The Knicks are in fifth place in the East thanks to Randle’s ironman will.

He hasn’t missed a game. He has averaged 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He has spent the past two weeks in profound thought on how he was so disappointed in himself failing as a leader in his first season during last season’s Knicks mess.

Now you can call the Knicks leader, Captain Randle, though Thibodeau doesn’t believe in bestowing titles.

“It means a lot — it’s a responsibility I truly enjoy,’’ Randle said. “A lot of things about my way of leadership is to be vocal, but I try to lead by example — how I approach work and study the game. Do the things the right way. It’s a great responsibility I love to have. Hopefully in the second half I’ll continue to do that and be the best leader I can. Hopefully, it translates to wins.’’

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