Step aside Stephen King. Move over James Patterson.
There’s a new best-selling author on the horizon and he plays for the Knicks.
You’ve probably heard about the literary accomplishments of Ron Baker. His children’s book, “You’re Too Big to Dream Small,” has been something of a cult hit in Baker’s home state of Kansas.
Baker wrote the poem-like copy for the illustrated book that encourages children to dream big.
His rise from being a hoops star in a small town in the Heartland to an NBA player with one of the league’s marquee franchises in the Big Apple is the living embodiment of the book.
The book, with an initial printing of 6,000, has sold well in the Jayhawk State. But now that Baker is playing significant minutes, and occasionally starting for the Knicks, sales are increasing at such a pace that Baker’s publisher, Jefferson Knapp, told MSGNetworks.com he anticipates publishing a second edition this fall.
“Ron can’t go anywhere in Wichita without being stopped,’’ Knapp said. “But now that he’s playing, we’re getting orders from all over the country. Until a month ago, I don’t think we got an order from New York. Now we’ve gotten several.’’
“And there are a lot of Knicks fans in Wichita these days. I stopped watching the NBA after the Showtime era, but now I’m watching the Knicks whenever possible. And I’m not alone here.’’
Knapp, Knicks fans and the rest of the Ron Baker fan club will have a chance to watch the 6-foot-4, 220-pound point guard and the Knicks (19-26) tonight when they play the Pacers (22-21) in Indianapolis (MSG Network will have postgame reaction and analysis immediately following the game).
Knapp, who said he’s had casual talks with Baker about publishing a second book, said he’s not surprised that the book continues to grow in popularity. But he has been surprised by how the Knicks, and Knicks fans, have generated buzz.
In a recent in-game interview, Carmelo Anthony referred to Baker as Ron Burgundy. Baker started the game Jan. 16 game against the Atlanta Hawks, replacing Courtney Lee in the lineup as coach Jeff Hornacek tinkered with his lineup.
“Burgundy came in, great minutes as a starter,” said Anthony.
Anthony was asked about the lineup change, and Ron ‘Burgundy’ Baker was born.
“The other night, I think they were playing the Hawks, and Carmelo Anthony referred to Ron as Ron Burgundy,’’ Knapp said. “I guess that’s one of the nicknames they’ve given him. It generated a lot of interest in the media.”
“When someone of Carmelo’s stature makes a reference to Ron, people around here are so excited. And more people learn about the book.”
“Ron never did this to become popular or anything like that. He just wanted to tell boys and girls around the country to dream big and if you work hard, there’s no telling what may happen.’’
Baker epitomizes that mantra. A walk-on at Wichita State, he helped lead the Shockers to the NCAA Tournament Final Four. An undrafted free agent, he signed with the Knicks and his given them energy and defensive toughness in the backcourt.
Baker has earned his coach’s trust, his teammate’s respect and his way into the starting lineup on occasion. His smart, gritty style of play have some comparing Baker to Bucks point guard Matthew Dellavedova and others to a young Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks’ coach.
The son of two basketball coaches, Baker knows that the nicknames are a part of being accepted on a team. As he said once in the locker room, it’s when they stopping messing around with you that you have to worry.
“I have about 15 nicknames, being the rookie that I am,’’ Baker said. “But that was one of the first ones Melo gave me this summer when we first met.’’
Although Baker is fine with the nicknames, his competitive fire comes through when asked about his favorites. He’s no longer the undersized, skinny player from Scott City, Kansas. He’s one of the gifted few to be playing in the NBA.
“I’m here to help the Knicks win games any way I can,’’ Baker said. “If that’s making one pass, or being aggressive on defense or running my team, that’s what I will do.’’