CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Eddy Curry was glad to be a basketball
player again and not a patient.
Curry officially joined the New York Knicks on Friday after a
team of doctors hired by the club cleared him to play. An NBA
cardiologist also reviewed the test results and signed off on
Curry's return to practice.
"I'm more worried about breaking a finger," Curry said. "I'm
not worried about my heart."
Curry was traded to the Knicks by the Chicago Bulls earlier this
week, more than six months after the 22-year-old center had an
irregular heartbeat that caused him to miss the final 13 games of
last season and the playoffs.
Bulls general manager John Paxson asked Curry to take a DNA
test, something the player refused, he said, because it would not
be completely accurate.
New York didn't demand Curry take a DNA test as Chicago had. The
Bulls wanted the genetic screening to determine whether Curry is
susceptible to a potentially fatal heart problem, a request Curry
balked at, saying it violated his privacy.
Curry said he would have taken a DNA test for his own peace of
mind. But "I wouldn't do it for them," he said.
The 6-foot-11 center, who spent his first four NBA seasons with
the Bulls, took the court Friday evening and practiced with his new
team at the College of Charleston.
"Go Eddy," Knicks coach Larry Brown shouted as Curry drove the
lane in a four-on-four drill and tipped in a missed shot.
Curry went through several five-man full-court drills, looking a
little out of shape.
"Right now, I'm extremely happy," he said.
Along with Curry, Chicago sent veteran center Antonio Davis to
New York for forwards Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and Jermaine
Jackson along with a conditional first-round draft pick in 2006,
two future second-round selections and the option of exchanging
picks with New York at a later draft.
Dr. Lisa Callahan, New York's director of player care, said
federal patient privacy rules prevented the team from disclosing
specifics about Curry's results.
When asked directly if there was something wrong with his heart,
Curry answered, "No."
Knicks president Isiah Thomas said research the team had done on
Curry's situation showed he was worth the risk. More than a half
dozen doctors worked on Curry. Thomas said the medical tests proved
Curry's good health.
"It really didn't come down to soul searching because you're
dealing with a healthy player," Thomas said.
"I'm thrilled [Curry] is with us," said Brown, the Hall of
Fame coach who is starting his first season in New York. "He's not
in the kind of shape he's going to be in, but I know how hard he
After three sluggish years, Curry, who came to the NBA directly
from high school, had broken through to lead the Bulls in scoring
last season with a 16.1 average. He played a major role as Chicago
won 47 games and reached the playoffs for the first time since 1998
-- when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led them to their sixth
Curry, who went to Thornwood H.S. in South Holland, Ill., said
it was difficult at first to learn the team he grew up rooting for
wanted him gone.
"But it was a breath of fresh air to know the Knicks wanted
me," Curry said.
"It's over with now," he said. "I'm just glad this part of my
life is behind me."