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    Getting to know NEW YORK KNICKS HEAD COACH Jeff Hornacek

    NAME: Jefrey John Hornacek

    Born: May 3 1963 (age 53)  in Elmhurst, Illinois

    Career History: As Player: 1986–1992 Phoenix Suns, 1992–1994 Philadelphia 76ers, 1994–2000 Utah Jazz

    As Coach: 2011–2013 Utah Jazz (assistant), 2013–2016 Phoenix Suns, 2016–present 

    New York Knicks

    Salary: $5,000,000/next 3 years

    What drives you? A: Just try to do your best that you possibly can. Not everybody can be a Michael Jordan, but you can be the best player that you’re capable of doing with your God-given talents. But to try to achieve that, there’s a lot of hard work. And there’s not a lot of guys that will put in that hard work to get to that level. What was it like playing with John Stockton and Karl Malone? A: The great thing about it is when I got traded to Utah, prior to expansion, it seemed when I was in Phoenix, we played Utah every year in the playoffs, and so I had played Utah about 50 times prior to that. So when I got traded there, they said, “Well, there’s a lot of plays, how long’s it gonna take you to learn ’em?” I said, “I already know.” But with John and Karl, what I found out, probably within five games, is that all we gotta do is nod our head, and we know what each other was gonna do. We just had such a connection right from the start. If you could go back in time and pick the brain of one basketball player or coach, whose would you pick? A: I loved watching Magic Johnson. You knew right when he got the ball on an outlet pass, what was going through his mind.… There’s so many guys in the past. I always probably tend to look at who are all the champion guys? That’s the level the everybody’s trying to get to, and I think guys who win championships, from the coaching standpoint, to the players’ standpoint, and management, they think a little bit differently. So if you go to the Red Auerbachs or something, that won all those championships. That’s why I was excited to come here to New York. Phil’s won 11 championships. There’s a different thought process that goes on amongst champions. How will you deal with stress in New York? A: I’ve never really been a big stress guy. I don’t know if you’re born with it. I was in one of these, it’s like Pass, Punt and Kick, it was called Pitch, Hit and Throw when I was 9. Our final part of that competition, we did the hitting and the throwing the day before. The final competition was at the 1972 All-Star Game. With all the baseball All-Stars lined up along first-base and third-base line, and they took us out there to pitch, and that was the last thing. There was a target, and I went out there and threw four out of five and ended up winning the competition. People ask me about it, “Well, there’s 60,000 people at the game, you got all the All-Stars lined up,” I said, “I only saw the red target.” That’s all I saw. Again, I think it goes back to I always felt if I just lay it all out there, it’s the best I could do. How do you motivate? A: I think a lot of it’s gotta come internally. Building their confidence, making them believe that they can do it is the big part. Occasionally it’s the mix in of jumping on ‘em and try to push ‘em and jump-start ’em if they’re slacking a little bit. To me, it’s when you’re showing the guys that you can play as hard as you can and have fun at the same time, you’re gonna succeed. Please Tell Knicks fans why you’re the right man for this job. A: We’re gonna bring a blend of tough play, have fun, excitement, and I think a style that the fans will really enjoy getting behind the guys. It’s gonna be a great balance between half-court play and getting out in the open. I think most fans, what they want to see is the players, win or lose, play as hard as they can. And that’s what we’re gonna do.