Mikki Moore, the Sacramento Kings’ back-up center, knows all about persistence. He is in his 10th NBA season, and with his ninth different team. Job security was never something he took for granted. Last season, with the NJ Nets, he averaged a career-high 9.8 ppg and 5.1 rebounds, and became the only undrafted player since 1976 to lead the league in field goal percentage.

Over the years, he has gotten to know Isiah Thomas, the Knicks’ coach.

“Me and Isiah, and Joe Dumars, have been talking for years. My first team was Detroit. He has been wanting me on his squad for a long time, ‘cause he respects my hard work, and how I play –old school. No lay-ups. Foul, if you have to, but not to end someone’s career. That’s how I was raised –on old school basketball. And he likes that.”

Imagine that. A big man who defends the paint.

“Me and him see eye to eye on a lot of things. I’ve told him, “Keep your head right. Don’t let this crowd get you out of your element. All this picketing, and all that stuff -you turn these boys around, [the fans will] be kissing your butt by the end of the season. He already knows that. That’s just how it is.

“You have hard times, and you struggle. Just keep on trying hard. Don’t look at what happened yesterday. Think about tomorrow.”

Perhaps, had Thomas made a play for Moore during the off-season, he would’ve had more tomorrows to pursue his vision of a championship.