Knicks fans actually embrace RJ Barrett at NBA draft, hold boos for first time in recent memory

New York Knicks fans have been extremely critical of their organization’s selections at the NBA draft in recent years.

This year, however, was much different.

Knicks fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn actually embraced the team’s move to pick RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick, and started chanting his name in the arena. For the first time in recent memory, they were happy.

Even Spike Lee was thrilled that the Knicks picked Barrett, too, and immediately started celebrating on the floor.

Knicks fans have a long history of booing at the NBA draft. Fans were extremely upset after the team selected Kevin Knox with the No. 9 overall pick last June, and they even booed after the Knicks took Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 overall pick in 2015 — which prompted the famous video of the young crying Knicks fan.

Finally, though, Knicks fans seem to approve of the organization’s move to pick up the Duke star on draft night.

Regardless, the Mississauga, Ontario, native said he wasn’t focused on the fan reaction ahead of time — even knowing how critical New York fans can be.

“I’m built for this,” Barrett said before the draft, via CBS Sports. “I’m ready for the challenge. It doesn’t really matter. Boo me, not boo me — I don’t really care what you think. I’m just going to go in and give it my all. That’s all I can really do.”

The Knicks can certainly utilize Barrett this season. The 19-year-old averaged 22.6 points and 7.6 rebounds with the Blue Devils last season, leading them to the Elite Eight alongside No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, and appears to be a great fit in the Knicks’ system.

Though, according to ESPN, the team didn’t actually have any specific needs headed into Thursday night. Instead, the Knicks need “everything.”

Only time will tell to see if Knicks fans stand by Barrett. Given their history, that can change in a heartbeat.

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