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Performance | Jan 30, 2019
The New York Knicks' Director of Performance talks about the evolution of his role in the NBA.

Mubarak Malik believes the New York Knicks are just a few steps from achieving something special in the NBA.


By John Portch

The Leaders Performance Podcast spoke to the Knicks’ Director of Performance ahead of the NBA Global Game in London where the Knicks faced the Washington Wizards at the O2 Arena.

The result may not have been to Malik’s liking that evening, with the nominal hosts claiming a 101-100 victory, but he was in good spirits and spoke candidly about his five years in New York, as well as his time at the Pittsburgh Pirates and EXOS.

Malik laid out how his role has evolved from focusing on strength & conditioning in the weight room to leveraging all the resources at hand to create robust players capable of facing an 82-game regular season, while ensuring players adopt the habits befitting a professional in the NBA.

There was a clear sense that while the team is enduring a difficult season on the court but everyone, from President Steve Mills and the front office down through the roster and basketball operations staff is working to put in place the high performance systems that will enable the Knicks to return to the NBA Playoffs.

Malik also spoke about:

  • Building a philosophy of winning with a ‘beginner’s mind’ [3:48];
  • Working with young players and finding opportunities to teach them good habits [7:57];
  • Measuring performance and establishing performance systems in chaotic environments such as sport and the military [9:30];
  • How earning the trust and respect of his peers and understanding the NBA mentality has been a steep learning curve [24:45];
  • The Knicks’ approach to wellbeing and creating safe spaces for athletes [41:16].

Previous Episode:

EP 38: Aaron Williamon, Royal College of Music

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