There’s been a flock of rather young New York Knick fans since the emergence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in the Big Apple, sometimes the truly great Knicks get swept under the rug. Thus, I have a list of the five of the greatest Knickerbockers to ever grace the grandest stage in basketball.
5. Dave DeBusschere
In between the greatness of Willis Reed and Clyde Frazier, there was Debusschere; a gritty rebounder who was key with his Game 7 performance in the 1970 NBA Finals (18 points and 17 rebounds) that brought a title to the city.
He was a member of the 1970 and 1973 Champion Knicks, when the All-Defensive Team category was introduced in 1968-1969, he would make the team the following six season with New York and eight All-Star appearances (six of those with the Knicks).
‘Black Jesus” was incredible, to say the least, he was a flashy ball-handler and when he went to the New York Knicks , some wondered how he would mesh with New York’s flamboyant Walt Frazier. As you well know, and what I have chronicled, is the tandem would become one of the most sensational backcourts in the game.
The Pearl had a “light as a feather” jumper and his patented spin move which was initiated when he bumped into a defender then he would spin before shooting one of his circus-like shots. He used pump fakes that befuddled opponents, in which it allowed him to penetrate with ease.
He would retire as a New York Knick and was a fundamental wheel on the 1973 New York Knicks Championship team.
3. Willis Reed
Reed was revered as the heart of the 60′s-70′s Knicks team as he was a New York Knick his whole career, but was healthy for seven of them. The pinnacle for Reed was before Game 7, after he sat out Game 6 due to an injury, of the NBA Finals, when he hobbled out to a standing ovation. He would be named Finals MVP (and again in 1973) and the Knicks would win their first title. He was also present as the Knicks won their second title in 1973.
He had seven All-Star appearances, Rookie of the Year, 1970-71 MVP, and appeared in five All-NBA teams.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier was synonymous with cool, the way he walked, the way he talked, the way played…it was just….cool.
Clyde is legendary for his Game 7 performance in the NBA Finals of 1970 in which he had a phenomenal performance. He racked up 36 points, 19 assists, seven rebounds, and five steals. During his ten years with New York, he averaged 20+ points a game for six consecutive seasons, seven All-Star game appearances, and seven consecutive appearances to the All-Defense First Team.
He had those quick hands and when he stole a ball it was like watching a Greek statue. BEAUTIFUL. POETIC. STUNNING.
Not to mention, he was part of the 1970 and 1973 Championship Knicks.
Think of the New York Knicks and what do you automatically think of? Patrick Ewing.
Ewing kept New York pumping for the better part of 15 seasons, and out of those he had 11 All-Star appearances. Out of his 15 seasons with the Knicks, New York was playoff bound 13 times., including to trips to the NBA Finals. Ewing anchored New York nearly every season, and although he came up short twice in bring a title back to New York, he never had the advantages that several athletes have today. Ewing didn’t have a second or third superstar to back him up, he willed it on his own.
His offensive and defensive prowess, height, quickness and his off-court demeanor spoke for himself.
Not to mention only 15 other players share a common thread with Ewing: the 20,000 points, and 10,000 rebound club.
Patrick Ewing is a perfect portrait of what 90′s basketball was about.
Who are your greatest Knicks of all-time?