Dennis Smith Jr. says Knicks 'put the pressure on me' to eat octopus

Vikram Bodas
Mavericks first round pick Dennis Smith Jr. was asked to do something pretty strange in a pre-draft meeting with the Knicks. (NBC Sports)

Former president of the Knicks and longtime Bulls and Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is known around the NBA for his non-traditional tactics. Whether it was integrating Buddhism and mediation into his coaching regimen or asking odd interview questions as a front office executive, we have been trained to expect the unexpected with the ‘Zen Master.’

On Saturday, rookie point guard and NC State grad Dennis Smith Jr. further added to the mystery surrounding Phil through the telling of a funny story from his pre-draft interviews with New York.

“We went out to some restaurant and they had me eat some octopus, like an actual octopus tentacle,” Smith Jr. told the New York Daily News. “First time ever. I wasn’t going to try it, honestly. They kind of put the pressure on me to do it.”

Smith, who was eventually passed over by the Knicks in favor of French point guard Frank Ntilikina, was taken by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 9 overall pick and looked sensational during the Summer League – averaging 17.3 points per game.