Obi Toppin has been a polarizing figure among the New York Knicks fanbase ever since he popped out as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Some are lobbying for the Knicks to trade Julius Randle and invest in Toppin. But are also those who lamented how Leon Rose bungled his first draft selection as the team president and should have instead picked heady playmaker Tyrese Haliburton.
Toppin, though, doesn’t mind the social media chatter. He’d rather listen to someone whose opinion carries more weight.
In that case, the former players turned talking heads on TV.
- Knicks head into free agency trying to correct last summer’s mistakes
- Knicks dump Kemba Walker to Pistons to open cap space
- Knicks trade out of lottery for multiple first round picks
Appearing as one of the guests on Bleacher Report’s Next 25, hosted by three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade, Toppin shared his thoughts about the ongoing trend of former players criticizing the present generation.
“That’s what we look for, from vets and other players to talk to us and tell us what we need to work on to get better,” Toppin said. “I feel like your team is all you got. Everybody there, they’re there because they are trying to win.”
“I feel like that’s all you got to worry about. You don’t need to worry about all the extra stuff going on, on social media or what people are trying to say. The only people working, fighting, and seeing each other every day are the people on your team.”
Toppin sat alongside Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier, Haliburton and newly-minted NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in the round table discussion with Wade to discuss the future of the game, the media and fashion in the next 25 years.
The Knicks’ incoming third-year forward hopes to build on his strong finish to his sophomore season and quiet his critics. He reset his career-high in scoring in four of his last five games, punctuating it with a 42-point, 10-rebound performance.
Toppin averaged 27.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the season’s final five games. And it’s not just a coincidence that he’s done that after Randle was shut down with a sore quad putting more weight on the quarter of the fan base clamoring for prioritizing Toppin’s growth over Randle.
The New York-raised Toppin was already back in the Knicks’ Tarrytown practice facility just a couple of weeks after their season ended, along with the other young guys to prepare for next season. He is expected to banner the Knicks’ NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas in July.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo