Apparently, there is an unwritten Thanksgiving rule among NBA players.
If you are spending Thanksgiving Day at a teammate’s home, you are not expected to bring a side dish or dessert.
For example, Derrick Rose, whose family is in Chicago, will be spending his first Thanksgiving in New York at Carmelo Anthony’s home.
Rose told, yes told, Anthony he was coming.
“I don’t think I have to bring anything but an appetite,’’ Rose said.
Anthony acknowledged with a laugh that Rose is the first teammate to invite himself to Thanksgiving dinner.
“Yeah, yeah,’’ said Anthony. “If he wants to come, my door is always open. He’s considered family now.’’
The Knicks are thankful for the things most Americans are thankful for: Family and good health.
But the bond that keeps them tight on a holiday, such as Thanksgiving, is the appreciation they have for the hard work that helped them make a fantasy come true.
“I’m thankful to be here, blessed to be on this team, to be in the NBA because there was a time when I wasn’t,’’ Justin Holiday told MSGNetworks.com. “Just thankful to be able to have basketball as my job, which was also my dream.
“So I’m just thankful all around. I might sound cliche’ but everything that I have, I’m thankful for.’’
Before Tuesday night’s 107-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Knicks fifth straight win in The World’s Most Famous Arena, Kyle O’Quinn took the mic and wished fans a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Like Rose, O’Quinn knows what it’s like to be a Thanksgiving Day guest. O’Quinn and Portland’s Moe Harkless, both Queens natives, were teammates for three years with the Orlando Magic.
Harkless had moved his family to Orlando. O’Quinn was alone. He quickly became a fixture on Thanksgiving Day.
“Moe Harkless, we’re tight, our family’s are connected,’’ said O’Quinn. “I remember one time we were going around the table saying what we’re thankful for.
“We just came to grips that we’re very thankful for the positions that we’re in, the opportunities to provide for our families, and just how happy we make our moms and our immediate families.
“So him and I know there’s going to be some banging on the court. But after, it’s all love. I’ll never forget those times in Orlando. I didn’t have to bring anything except my appetite.’’
Harkless added one other request.
“Bring your appetite,’’ Harkless said. “Bring your sense of humor.’’
O’Quinn, the Knicks 6-foot-10, 250-pound backup center, is one of the most personable players in the league. He has an appetite for humor. And, for family.
When asked what he’s most thankful for, O’Quinn had a poignant response.
“I’m thankful hearing my mom tell me she’s proud of me every day,’’ O’Quinn said. “It’s a great feeling for a son, for any kid. That’s what I’m most thankful for. No matter what the outcome is, how up or done I am, she’s proud of me.’’
All of the Knicks are keenly aware of one humbling truth. They are members of elite fraternity – the NBA.
“I think about it a lot, actually,’’ Holiday said. “Even from the time I played in the D-League, how many guys were trying to get called up, how many players are there trying to get to this spot and I have one of those spots.
“I was watching a D-League team the other night and I thought about it. From guys coming out of college, the D-League, Europe, there are so many guys that can play this game and I’m at the highest level. I just feel so blessed.”
Holiday said he’s having teammates Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker and Marshall Plumlee over. He said he doesn’t expect anyone to bring anything.
“If I invite someone to my house, they’re my guests,’’ Holiday said. “I wouldn’t expect them to bring anything. That’s just the way I do it.’’
Minutes later Anthony joked that Rose, “better bring a pie or something.’’
Maybe the rules are different for teammates that invite themselves over.
Here are some other Knicks’ Thanksgiving Day thoughts:
* “I’m thankful man, for my family, of course,’’ said Anthony. “My family, to be here with friends. To have an opportunity to go to work every day, be around a great group of guys and my teammates. Waking up every morning laughing and smiling. Those are the things I’m thankful for.’’
* “I’m thankful for being in New York, man,’’ Rose said. “I’m thankful to be in the position that I’m in. Having this opportunity, being 28 and still learning. I’m just thankful.’’
* “I’m thankful for waking up every day,’’ said Courtney Lee. “Thankful for my family. I’m thankful that I do something that I love for a job. Just thankful for everything.’’