Knicks starting center Taj Gibson always loved Tom Thibodeau, who took care of him in Chicago and then brought him to Minnesota.
And despite Thibodeau's surprising dismissal as coach / president of the wolves last season when he was reportedly unable to get in touch with the young players, Gibson received a newer appreciation for his former coach when he came to New York.
"Since I've been here, a lot of these old Knicks players have come up to me and they love Thibs," Gibson told The Post. "You worshiped the guy. It's crazy."
And Gibson said Thibodeau liked to be in New York – Jeff Van Gundy's best assistant in the sweet days of the late 90s.
When Gibson signed for the Knicks, Thibodeau was one of the first calls he received.
"That's all he ever talked about – being part of the Knicks organization, back with Oak and Pat and the glory years," Gibson told The Post, referring to Charles Oakley and Patrick Ewing. "He always talked about those good years and what it means to be a kink and represent New York."
The Post reported Monday that Thibodeau and Van Gundy will be on President Leon Rose's short wish list. Gibson does not campaign, but says that Thibodeau will be back one day and denies any idea that his Taskmaster-style can't connect to millennials. Gibson indirectly shot the young wolves.
"Of course," said Gibson. “Boys have several chances if you look around the league. He was misunderstood. Many players have different attitudes. His mindset wins. You have to do a lot of hard work to win games. Sometimes young players don't understand that. "
Gibson says Thibodeau needs the right kind of youngster to be successful, like in Chicago, where he emerged as one of the NBA's elite coaches. Even in Minnesota, Thibodeau brought the ailing Wolf franchise into the playoffs.
"There was a misperception," said Gibson. "He wanted to win. He's just trying to make boys better players. Some people find it difficult. He'll push you. He always wants the best of you. It was easy for me to learn early in my career. He had a lot of people in Chicago who were willing to learn and willing to listen in Chicago. They were young people who really wanted to listen. He is a trainer who doesn't leave the gym. He doesn't take days off. He loves playing basketball. Since I'm already there, that's rare. He was in the gym from morning to night. "
Gibson, a Brooklyn native, called Thibodeau his "second pop". If he's posted here, there's a good chance Gibson will come back too.