Every basketball lifer has their own unique journey. Basketball Journeys focuses on capturing and unpacking the stories of players, coaches, and lifers who have experienced the impact of their dedication to the game over time.
Our writer Felix John-Baptiste talked with former Bloomfield College and St. Peters College guard, and current overseas hooper Omari Knox.
Felix: O Knox!! I want to thank you for taking the time to give me some insight into your hoops journey thus far. When was the first time you realized that playing professional basketball was what you were born to do?
Omari: I first realized I was supposed to play basketball for a living after I completed my first year of varsity basketball. I just finished my sophomore year and had been a starter on varsity. In my eyes, this was major because I was a key player on a team that competed in one of the toughest leagues in the city (NYC). It not only gave me the confidence that I could play with whoever but also if I continued to work hard, the sky was the limit.
Felix: I remember back in our HS days you were always the go-to scorer. How has that changed (if at all) from HS, and how have you managed to adjust to different roles on different teams?
Omari: Being a go-to scorer has carried me a long way and to several opportunities. This has been my role on many teams too. I’ve always wanted to learn and add new things to my game so it’s never been difficult to adjust to having a lesser role on any other team. Not to mention, I’ve been told I can be too unselfish at times so I definitely don’t mind sharing the ball and getting everyone involved.
Felix: You currently are playing professional ball overseas and have done so for a number of seasons. What is the biggest difference, from your perspective, in playing ball stateside versus internationally?
Omari: A big difference in playing in the states versus playing overseas (or in Europe) is the fundamentals or lack of in many American players. Many American players rely so much on their athleticism. The game is much faster, with a lot of isolation. In Europe, guys are much more fundamentally sound and the style of play is more team oriented.
Felix: I’ve seen for the past handful of summers you’ve been playing in The Basketball Tournament with Talladega Knights. I’m sure that between that squad, other local tournaments, and international play, you’ve gotten to play with a slew of former college stars and also NBA caliber players. How has that experience been?
Omari: Playing in the TBT tournament has been a great experience the last couple of years. Of course, it could have been much better to win it all but it’s very competitive as many would already know. The same goes for the local Pro-Am leagues in NY and NJ (Dyckman, Tri-State, Branchbrook Park, Hoopsville). Every summer, I have the opportunity to play with, and against some really great competition. It always keeps me in shape for my next season in Europe.
Felix: Speaking of stars, who have you shared the floor with that made you think, “I must bring my A game tonight”?
Omari: Here is just a short list of players I’ve had the chance to play with and/or against in recent years: (Josh Boone, Gary Forbes, Tyrone Nash, Wellington Smith, Randy Foye, Al Harrington, Kyrie Irving, Earl Boykins, Isaiah Briscoe, Corey Chandler, David Laury, Gage Daye). Matching up with anyone here, I would strongly recommend you bring your “A” game.
Felix: If you could go back in time and give HS Omari Knox one piece of advice for his journey, what would that be and why?
Omari: If I could go back in time to give advice to “High School Omari Knox” I would recommend playing the PG position. I have a great ability to score the ball, which has given me many opportunities. However, I do regret not learning to play as a PG from early on. I have learned to play some PG over the years when forced to. But I believe many things could have been different if I were a natural PG. Pure PG’s are pretty rare, so learning this from early on could have increased my value. This would’ve made me a much better player than I am today when added to my scoring ability.
Felix: For those interested in following your journey, where on social media can they find you?
Omari: I am currently playing my 7th season in Germany. My social media presence consists of:
- Instagram: @o.knox
- Snapchat: oknox34
- Facebook: Omari Knox
- Twitter: @brooklynborn34
Current Team: OSB Hellenen München 2017-2018 (Germany)
Previous Teams: TSV Oberhaching Tropics 2016-2017, Köln Rheinstars 2014-2015, TSV Dachau Spurs 2009-2011, 2012-2014 (All in Germany)