He Got Next

Trainer Chris Brickley’s “Black Ops” offseason pick-up runs brought out the biggest stars in the NBA and took social media by storm. Here, he explains how he made it happen.
by December 12, 2017

The night the Knicks’ 2016-17 season ended I got in my Chrysler 200 and drove through the night, from Madison Square Garden straight to Lexington, KY. I had spent four years as an assistant with the Knicks but wanted to try to do this thing on my own. I love player development and wanted the freedom to work with all sorts of players. I thought it would be beneficial to me, and also to other players.

Sixteen hours after leaving the Garden, I was on court in Kentucky with [former Louisville guard] Donovan Mitchell and [former Kentucky guard] Isaiah Briscoe. That’s how Black Ops began.

Obviously, though, it goes back to my relationship with Melo. We grew close during our time with the Knicks. We’d worked out in previous offseasons, but this summer we decided to take things to a different level.

By the end of the summer things were crazy. I live in the same building as the gym and sometimes would go days without stepping outside. It was a blessing. Every night, after spending all day on the court, I’d have like 15-20 NBA guys texting me trying to find out what time the run was at the next day. They liked the competition but also that I break down every clip from the scrimmages and text them thoughts. I do that all year with all the guys I work with. But being able to see how hard guys like LeBron, Melo and KD work, it just made me better at what I do.

Going forward, we’re going to keep working with NBA guys but also youth players and draft prospects. We want Black Ops to take over basketball in New York City and, eventually, the country. I want it to be home to the greatest pick-up games in the world.

As told to Yaron Weitzman

Photos by Joseph L. Sherman