Thabo Sefolosha was back in New York City but for the right reasons this time. The Atlanta Hawks were in town to play the New York Knicks. This time there was no nightclub stabbing, police altercation, broken leg for Sefolosha, arrest, trial, enduring pain. There was just the Atlanta Hawks decimation of the local team in Mahnattan, reminding all New York Knicks fans they have a long way to go before they can think about being contenders.
Sefolosha didn’t suit up. The Hawks are cautious about his recovery. But he wouldn’t be human if being back in New York didn’t remind him of his worst moment. It is the reason Sefolosha is suing the city of New York and the NYPD for injuries he suffered in the early morning hours of April 8th that ended his season and caused him enduring pain for months afterwards.
Being back in New York feels different and it feels the same. “Of course it reminds me of that night but at the same time, I mean it’s been about six months and I’ve been thinking about it almost daily”, Sefolosha admitted.
Sefolosha wants to change policy as far fetched as that sounds considering that the policy and behavior of the NYPD is entrenched in history and the institution of the department. Sefolosha, a Swiss native with South African roots, is optimistic. “They have to be held accountable and be smart about how to interact with people.”
Sefolosha is not an outlier. A few months after he was attacked by police, tennis star James Blake had his own personal NYPD story except Blake received an apology after he was attacked by police and Sefolosha has to sue the NYPD for his apology which will come in a form of a settlement, not words.
He said, “I don’t think it’d be fair to knock down the police’s job but at the same time I think they have to be held accountable and be smart about how they interact with people.”
The best thing about his return to the city was the Hawks basketball superiority. The Knicks could not handle Jeff Teague who had 23 points as he consistently beat the oh so slow Calderon to the rim. The Hawks had an easy time with the Knicks as they built a double digit lead. Al Horford had 21 points, Kyle Korver had 15 and Paul Millsap had a double-double. As was the case all last year, the Hawks were efficient from the three point line, they had 10 three pointers.
Derek Fisher continued to preach patience.
“We played against a team that was in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and lost opening night a couple nights ago, and you could pretty much anticipate they were going to play a good game tonight. We weren’t ready for it but we will be one day.”
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer was pleased with the bounce back. “We played better tonight. I think the first group set the tone for us in the first quarter.”
photo via llananba