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Jalen Brunson's dad was an NBA journeyman who reached the Finals with the New York Knicks

Joshua Rogers May 25, 2022
jalen brunson dad rick brunson
Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images

The Mavs star joined the Inside the NBA crew recently where they joked about his father. But did you know Jalen Brunson’s dad Rick reached the NBA Finals with the New York Knicks?

The Dallas Mavericks are currently taking on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The Mavs were down 3-0 in the series but rallied to take Game 4 on Tuesday night, winning 119-109.

Both Dallas and point guard Jalen Brunson have been among the surprise packages this postseason. Brunson had 15 points in Game 4, and joined the Inside the NBA crew afterwards where his dad, Rick, was brought up.

Playoffs on NBA Lane | Official Trailer

Playoffs on NBA Lane | Official Trailer

Inside the NBA crew joke about Jalen Brunson’s dad

The Inside the NBA crew, made up of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley were in attendance at American Airlines Center for Game 4 of the WCFs.

After the game, Jalen Brunson joined the gang to discuss the playoffs so far. At the end of the segment, Chuck congratulated Jalen on his series before asking him a question about his dad.

“Have you surpassed your dad as the best player?” he asked, before Kenny chimed in saying his dad was a passer not a scorer.

Jalen then joked that his dad “wasn’t even a player compared to me” at which point the crew burst into laughter at the shade Jalen was throwing his own father:

Rick Brunson was an NBA journeyman who made the Finals with the Knicks

The Mavs star may be having a little fun at his father’s expense, but Rick Brunson played for nearly a decade in the NBA throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

Essentially, Rick was the quintessential NBA journeyman – a player who was just about good enough to find a spot on multiple NBA rosters, but never quite at the level to earn long-term contracts or max deals.

Having said that, Jalen Brunson’s dad still made the 1999 NBA Finals with Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. Rick was a point guard and helped the Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they couldn’t get over the final hurdle against a dominant Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Rick played college basketball for the Temple Owls but went undrafted in the 1995 NBA Draft. He played in Australia for a while before coming back to the US with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1997-98.

He retired in 2006 with the Houston Rockets having also played for the Celtics, Knicks (for a second time) Trail Blazers (for a second time), Bulls (twice), Raptors, Clippers and SuperSonics.

Photo by Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

He is now a high school coach

Brunson then worked as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets, Bulls, Bobcats and Timberwolves before becoming head coach at Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey where he remains to this day.

So while he was never quite an All-Star calibre player or franchise guy, Rick Brunson did reach an NBA Finals, something Jalen is trying to emulate this year with the Mavs.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Do you think the Mavs can pull off a miracle and advance to the NBA Finals, or are the Warriors a lock to get there? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.