Gerald “Sick” Knapp was, at first, confused.
In-season trades are new to the NBA 2K League, and the Cavs Legion center—selected 19th overall in the 2018 draft and protected by the Cavs during the offseason—had little reason to expect a change of scenery. But one hour before Cavs Legion’s opening game of THE TURN Tournament in Las Vegas, Sick found out he would be heading to Toronto.
“I was very confused about the whole situation,” he said. “There were a lot of mixed emotions going through me.”
With a game later that night, Sick wasn’t sure whether or not to feel like a Cavalier or a Raptor. Although the Cavs later lost, he competed as best he could, wanting to give the Cavs a good sendoff in his last hours with the team. His confusion soon turned to enthusiasm as the Raptors Uprising personnel in Vegas expressed their excitement about the deal.
“Ogi [Micic, Raptors Uprising Head Coach] and Shane [Talbot, MLSE Esports Manager] came over, just making me feel more comfortable as a Raptor,” Sick said. “I was super excited that the team really believed in me.”
While losing Trevion “All Hail Trey” Hendrix—a great player and a great person—was a difficult decision, Raptors Uprising’s chance to acquire one of the league’s premier big men was too tough to pass up. Talbot later indicated that Raptors Uprising had eyed Sick in the 2018 draft, only to see him go to Cleveland several picks ahead of Raptors Uprising.
I’m extremely excited to welcome @Sick_x_973 to Toronto and our organization
We’ve had our eyes on Jerry since the season 1 Draft, and can’t wait to see what our new look lineup looks like in-game
Please help me in welcoming him to Toronto #WeTheNorth
— Shane Talbot (@ShaneTalbot) May 13, 2019
It’s not hard to see why. Sick, one of the most versatile players in the league, starred at both point guard and center for Cavs Legion in 2018. He’s one of the best stretch big men in the league, shooting over 52% from beyond the arc and collecting nearly 2 steals per game throughout his career. This year, in the regular season, Sick is averaging 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, both team highs for Cavs Legion.
He’s not only a regular-season performer. Last year, Sick was part of the Cavs Legion team that eliminated Raptors Uprising from the playoffs after a loss to the Raptors Uprising in the regular season. But he asserts that late-season scrimmages against the Raptors Uprising were what prepared the Cavs for their playoff run and helped them find their identity.
“We thought they were the absolute best team in the league,” Sick said. “They scrimmaged us every day, we only won maybe once or twice. They’re the team that made us better.”
The Cavs opened their 2019 campaign with a TIPOFF Tournament game against—who else—Raptors Uprising. Now, with his jersey changed and his allegiances reversed, Sick says he’s excited to go up against his old teammates to continue the rivalry.
First, however, he has a bye week after THE TURN to process all the emotions. He’s spending the week with his daughter, Isabella, who just turned five months old. Like Raptors Uprising’s Seanquai “KingQuai” Harris, he FaceTimes with his daughter nightly, and this season’s bye weeks have been perfect for actual face time. This one in particular offers a chance to begin connecting with Raptors Uprising as he refocuses and redirects his mindset North.
Ready to lock in @Sick_x_973?
— Raptors Uprising GC (@RaptorsGC) May 13, 2019
Fatherhood is not the only bond he shares with his Raptors Uprising frontcourt partner. Sick has known KingQuai longer than any of his new teammates, first playing with him in NBA 2K16 and qualifying for the Road to the Finals tournament alongside him. While he hasn’t played with the other Raptors Uprising players before, he labels Kenneth “Kenny” Hailey one of the best guards in the game and Freddie “Doza” Mendoza a “walking bucket.”
Most importantly, he’s excited for the synthesis of an unselfish roster and its chances to go win a championship. While he figures he’ll fit perfectly with KingQuai in the frontcourt due to their mutual experience and sagacity as big men, he believes the entire roster is constructed the right way.
“We have five other guys on the team, all they care about is winning,” Sick said. “There’s not a selfish guy on the roster.”
Now that the shock of the trade has subsided, Sick sees nothing but potential in the move to Raptors Uprising. There’s no longer any confusion. For Sick, beginning his new start with Raptors Uprising, everything makes sense.
— Jerry (@Sick_x_973) May 13, 2019