RJ Barrett isn’t plagued by disrespect that stems from playing for Knicks

It’s been over three years since RJ Barrett learned that he was going to play for the New York Knicks, and since then, he’s continually proven that he’s in the right place. To play in a place like NYC, it’s crucial to have a certain mindset, and RJ has that.

At this point, Barrett’s used to being included from lists and conversations that he should be part of, whether it be 25-under-25 rankings (subscription required) or talks about which players are capable of having a breakout season in 2022-23. In early September, he signed a four-year extension with New York, and even that stirred up outside chatter with debates about whether he’s worth it or not.

He doesn’t let it negatively affect his game, though. Per New York Daily New’s Stefan Bondy (subscription required), Barrett handles the disrespect quite well.

RJ Barrett opens up about the disrespect that he receives as a Knicks player

Barrett comes across as a quiet guy, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t notice what’s being said around him. He knows what it means to play for a team such as the Knicks and what it means for how he’s perceived. He said:

“Besides the fans, which we do have a lot of fans, everybody else doesn’t really like us,” Barrett said. “Everybody else doesn’t like us. I mean, I don’t know. It’s weird. I’ve gotten respect, but at the same time, there’s a lot of disrespect. But that’s fine. All the guys that they want to put in front of me or whatever, I’m in their heads. So it really doesn’t matter.”

Even after making improvements in the offseason, such as signing Jalen Brunson, New York’s been overlooked entering the year. That’s justifiable to an extent considering how tough the Eastern Conference is, but it’s nearly impossible for non-Knicks fans to say anything slightly positive about the Knicks, even when it’s warranted. The same goes for RJ.

The 22-year-old isn’t the type to call other players out by name, but according to Bondy, Barrett’s aware of where some of the players who made the 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie Teams are at now. As RJ said, “… look where I ended up.”

Barrett’s received his new contract, so that won’t be a distraction to him or the team during the season. Although Tyler Herro’s extension raised some eyebrows, RJ said that he “was taught to not watch other people’s pockets.”

Outsiders can say what they want about RJ Barrett, but the Knicks are lucky to have him as both a player and a leader. His mindset is the right one to have to succeed in NYC, which is why he’s going to be sticking around for at least a few more years. It’s going to take a player like Barrett to turn the Knicks around, and regardless of what some may believe, he’s on the right path to help propel New York back to relevancy.