Nets power forward Kris Humphries is trying his best to move on from his highly-scrutinized divorce from celebrity ex-wife Kim Kardashian after just 72 days of marriage, but he couldn’t escape the boos from 19,763 Knicks fans during Wednesday night’s preseason game at Madison Square Garden.
Humphries was booed lustily after coming in at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter in what became a 88-82 Nets’ loss. Every time he touched the ball during his six-minute stint on the court, the crowd would boo. They later chanted “We Want Humphries! We Want Humphries!” throughout the game, including three times late in the fourth.
“I’ve never heard an opposing player be cheered to be put in the game,” point guard Deron Williams said. “... That was a nice gesture on their part.”
So was Humphries surprised by the response?
“I don’t know,” Humphries said. “I felt like Rudy out there.”
Humphries, who officially re-signed with the Nets on Wednesday morning, couldn’t help but hear the crowd -- even if he didn’t want to. He was seen smiling about it on the bench during the game.
“No, I was so focused on the game, I couldn’t hear that, bro,” Humphries said sarcastically.
Williams was glad to have his teammate back with him on the court -- even if it was only for a little while.
“He had a good like two minutes,” Williams said. “He had some great cheers and some great boos. There were some mixed emotions going on out there. They booed him when he first got on the court and they were cheering for him to get back in ... probably so they could boo him again.
“It’s good to have him back. We’re definitely going to need him.”
Humphries was asked if he expects to hear a similar response in opposing NBA arenas for the rest of the season.
“I don’t know. I’m not too focused on it. I’m just here to win games,” Humphries said.
Williams doesn’t think it will affect Humphries.
“It’s probably tough, but he’s thick-skinned,” Williams said. “He should be fine. We’re here to give him some man hugs if he needs them, but he should be fine.”
Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony said he wouldn’t have expected anything less from the Garden faithful.
“It’s tough. It’s a tough situation,” Anthony said. “New York fans [are] New York fans. I like it, to be honest with you. That’s how it should be. Our fans shouldn’t be cheering for [anybody] else and that’s how it should be.”
Humphries enjoyed a breakout season in 2010-11 -- both on and off the court. He averaged 10 points and 10.4 rebounds (fifth, NBA) for the Nets. He also started dating Kardashian. She was frequently spotted sitting courtside watching Humphries play at the Prudential Center. Humphries later proposed to Kardashian and gave her a reported $2 million engagement ring, and the couple wed in a lavish multi-million dollar televised ceremony on Aug. 20. But their marriage didn’t last two-and-a-half months, prompting speculation that it was just a sham.
The 26-year-old was playing in his first NBA game since March 30. He went 0-for-1 from the field and also registered a rebound and a steal.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever not had a rebound in a game, actually,” Humphries said. “So I’m motivated going forward.”
“I felt all right,” Humphries said. “I hadn’t played 5 on 5 in a while or really practice. I was just getting up and down a little bit. I look forward to getting back out there.”
Humphries said he and coach Avery Johnson discussed him only playing six minutes.
“I wanna get in practice and go hard and kind of get a better feel and go from there,” Humphries said.
Johnson expects Humphries to start in the team’s regular season opener on Dec. 26 in Washington and play about 24 minutes.
“I don’t know,” Humphries responded when asked if it was realistic. “We’ll have to see how practice goes.”