“To have this opportunity to come to New York in the role of general manager, personally, it’s a very humbling time too,” Perry told The Undefeated in an exclusive interview. “I have been grinding in the game for 30 years. I spent 13 years as a college coach. I have had the peaks and valleys and all in-between.
“It’s been one whirlwind. I am a person of faith. It’s interesting.”
“I am a guy who always sees the positive in things,” Perry said. “I see great potential there. Look, you’re in New York City. The Knicks franchise is known around the globe. You just need some time, patience, organization and to put it together right.
“Everything you need in New York is there to change things around and have a very successful team. Now, it’s about going out there and doing it and getting everybody on the same page, so that will be a part of my role in helping Steve do that. It’s going to be a unified front in everything that we do. Have a culture of inclusion and being about the team, and not about ourselves and our own egos.”
“I’ve always had a great deal of respect for Carmelo the player and the person,” said Perry, who declined to talk in detail about Anthony’s situation.
“The day I was let go in Orlando, God had something better in store for me,“ Perry said. “My phone rang two days later from Sacramento.”
“There are certain things I didn’t have control of,” Perry said. “You need someone to see in you what you believe you have, someone to put you in a position to be a general manager of a franchise. I’ve been accumulating experience, and I’m going to my 18th season in the NBA. Obviously, I felt I was ready prior to this moment, but never did get the chance.”
“The [Knicks’ challenge] is no different than Sacramento,” Perry said. “When I came to Sacramento, I heard a lot of similar viewpoints of how tough it would be. You get the right people in there, with the right vision, positive attitude and a group working together for a common goal, as we know in sports you can change things around.”
“I was able to come out here and with an excellent guy in Vlade and really help him act out his vision for the team,” Perry said. “In three months’ time, the entire NBA was able to see what I could do with the draft, free agency. The type of narrative that surrounds Sacramento now from the time I got hired, I think, has changed a great deal. I think the team is heading in the right direction.”
“First and foremost, I’ve got to be myself and represent who I am,” Perry said. “Secondly, I am a black man who takes great pride in my history and my heritage. Knowing that a lot of times my performance can help open up doors for other aspiring African-American basketball executives down the line, I want to do the very best job I can to represent me and my family’s name, as well as representing that issue as well. At the end of the day, the only thing that we have is the legacy we leave.”
“When my father passed away back when I first started in the NBA, he always was one of my biggest supporters, along with my mom,” Perry said. “I told him, ‘I’m going to get there. I am going to be [a GM] one day.’ Even though he hasn’t been around for much of this, he’s been around just in how he raised me, taught perseverance and to continue to pursue your goals and dreams no matter the odds or the obstacles.
“I’ve had a lot of bright days in the NBA, days in the middle and days that are very tough. My attitude or mentality is much more middle ground. I never get too high or too low. It’s allowed me to hang tough and get here. It’s good to be rewarded for that.”