On This Date: Bill Bradley’s Birthday

July 28th 1943: Bill Bradley was born

New York Knicks great Bill Bradley was born on July 28th 1943. After a touted collegiate career at Princeton, Bradley spent 6 months in the Air Force before joining the New York Knicks. Bradley spent his entire NBA career with the Knicks and won 2 championships along the way. The Knicks eventually retired his number.

After retirement, Bradley embarked on a successful political career. He spent 18 years in the US Senate representing the state of New Jersey.

On This Date: Knicks honor 40th anniversary of the 1973 Knicks

April 5th 2013: Knicks honor the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Knicks

The Knicks honored the 1973 Championship Knick team on this date. The team got together the day before to reminisce on their heyday at Aretsky’s Patroon in New York City. The team was officially recognized at halftime of the Knicks-Bucks game.

The ceremony began with a video narrated by Al Trautwig. The team brought out the original championship trophy from 1973. All the living players were introduced one-by-one. For those who passed away, – including Red Holzman and the team trainer – the team had a special representative from the family join the ceremony.

The most notable player in the ceremony was Phil Jackson. Phil finally made his return to MSG not as a coach, but rather as an alum of the Knicks. The Knicks spent multiple efforts to lure Phil Jackson back into coaching the team in 1999 and 2005. The efforts were futile as he continued on his journey to win championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Earl Monroe ended the ceremony with a passionate speech about the team. He gave several complimentary remarks for the 2012-13 Knicks squad that would ultimately reach the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs.

On This Date: Clyde helps Knicks crush 76ers

March 7th 1973: Clyde Frazier helps Knicks crush the Philadelphia 76ers

The Knicks rounded back to form to rout the hapless Philadelphia 76ers 120-94. Clyde led the way with a near triple double and had 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists. Bill Bradley also had 22 points in 34 minutes. Both Willis Reed & Phil Jackson had double doubles with the same identical statline of 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Both teams headed in different directions that season. The Knicks eventually won their 2nd NBA championship as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers lost every game for the remainder of the season as they finished 9-73. The team eventually drafted Doug Collins with the #1 pick in the NBA Draft. Collins spent his entire NBA career with the 76ers and made 4 All Star teams before entering the coaching and broadcasting worlds.

On This Date: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

February 18th 2006: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Nate Robinson made headlines as a rookie during the 2006 All Star Weekend by winning the Slam Dunk Contest over Andre Iguodala in controversial fashion. The dunk contest featured the defending champion Josh Smith, Iggy, Hakim Warrick (of Syracuse fame), and Nate. Nate was obviously the shortest competitor in the contest since Spud Webb won in 1986.1

Iggy and Nate faced off in the finals of the dunk contest. Robinson’s first dunk in the finals was a through-the-legs windmill from an off-the-backboard pass. However, it took Nate more than 3 minutes (a ton of attempts) to actually make the dunk. He received a 44/50 on that attempt. After Iggy scored a perfect score on his first dunk, Nate Rob decided to surprise the crowd by bringing out Spud Webb and dunking over him. This dunk resulted in a perfect score. The final round ended up in a tie score that led to a dunk-off.

During the dunk-off, Nate missed his first 13 attempts and eventually received a 47/50 on the dunk. Iguodala purportedly had a better dunk, but the judges decided to give him a 46/50. As a result, Nate won the dunk contest in controversy as fans of Iguodala accused the judges of rigging the score.

In the aftermath of the dunk contest, a time limit was added so that you had to make your dunk within a certain prescribed amount of time. Despite the change, Nate participated in 3 of the next 4 contests winning both in 2009 and 2010. Just like his records in Summer League, he maintains the All-Time record for most Slam Dunk contest victories with 3.


February 18th 2010: Knicks acquire Tracy McGrady

In the path to potentially acquiring LeBron, the Knicks made another salary cap move by acquiring Tracy McGrady from the Houston Rockets in a three-way deal that sent Larry Hughes to the Sacramento Kings and Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, and the 2012 1st round draft pick to the Houston Rockets. In return, the Knicks also received Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings. The deal was made to clear Jared Jeffries’ contract for the Summer of 2010. In return, the Knicks had to part with both Jordan Hill, their 1st round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, and a 2012 1st round pick that became Royce White.

Hill spent his NBA career as a backup big man on several teams. While the Knicks didn’t necessarily miss him, the team could have drafted other players such as Demar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, or Jeff Teague. Sadly, the team was only one pick away from drafting Stephen Curry.

T-Mac was mostly a relic of his past greatness during his short tenure with the team. Back injuries significantly diminished his potential impact on the team after the trade deadline. His athletic body was instead a lumbering 30 year old that was on his last legs in the NBA. Sergio Rodriguez had a few decent moments as a backup point guard for the team. After the season ended, he departed for Real Madrid. He spent his next 6 seasons with the team. After one year with the Philadelphia 76ers, he joined CSKA Moscow.


February 18th 1984: Bill Bradley’s number retired

The Knicks retired Bill Bradley’s number 24 on his date in a home matchup against the New Jersey Nets. By this time, Bradley was a U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey and was running a re-election campaign. Bradley won re-election and remained Senator until retiring in 1996.

On This Date: 1969-70 Knicks named Top 10 team in NBA history

January 8, 1997: The NBA chose the 1969-70 New York Knicks as one of the Top 10 teams in NBA history

To celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the NBA, the league chose the 1969-70 Knicks as one of the Top 10 greatest teams in history. Members of the print and broadcast media that cover the NBA compiled a list of teams to nominate.

The 1969-70 Knicks had a record of 60-22 and won their first NBA championship. Four players on that team – Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, & Willis Reed – were inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Additionally, Clyde, DeBusschere, & Reed were concurrently on the NBA 50 Greatest Players list.

 

On This Date: Knicks rout Warriors in team-wide effort

December 21, 1971: The New York Knicks rout the Golden State Warriors in an embodiment of the team-first culture

The New York Knicks routed the Golden State Warriors 113-87. All five starters scored in double figures. Walt “Clyde” Frazier led the team with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Bill Bradley and Dick Barnett scored 23 and 18 points respectively.

Additionally, both Jerry Lucas & Dave DeBusschere grabbed 19 and 18 rebounds respectively. The two players combined for 37 of the team’s 63 total rebounds.  Lucas had a productive season replacing Willis Reed, who was hobbled with left knee tendinitis the entire season.

In an embodiment of the team culture, the Knicks’ starting lineup combined for 22 of the team’s 26 assists. Three players (Clyde, Lucas, DeBusschere) each had 5 assists while Bradley dished 4 assists.  

On This Date: Bill Bradley makes NBA Debut

December 9, 1967: Bill Bradley makes his NBA debut with the Knicks

Bill “Dollar Bill” Bradley made his NBA debut on this date in a matchup against the Detroit Pistons. Coincidentally, his first NBA game was in Madison Square Garden. Despite the fact that the Knicks lost 124-121, Bradley played 20 minutes and scored 8 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished 2 assists.

Dollar Bill grew up as a standout athlete and intellect.  Despite receiving many college scholarships, he chose to attend Princeton University to receive the education necessary to work in the US government or as a diplomat.

The Knicks drafted Bradley in 1965 under a then-unique provision called the “territorial rule.”  The territorial rule gave NBA teams first rights to draft college players who played within 50 miles of the professional team.  The New York Knicks & the Philadelphia 76ers were both nearby, but the former (Knicks) received priority as New York City was one mile closer to Princeton than Philadelphia.2  The territorial rule was eliminated after the 1965 draft.

Bradley deferred his debut for 2 years to study in Oxford University under a Rhodes Scholarship and enlisted in the Air Force for 6 months.  While in Oxford, he played basketball with Olympia Milano and He left the Air Force early to join the Knicks in December.  Because Bradley missed the entire preseason, he spent most of his rookie season acclimating to the league.

Dollar Bill eventually acclimated to the league and was an integral piece to the Knicks’ two championships.  Bradley ventured in politics after the NBA and served three teams as US Senator in New Jersey.  Bradley was elected into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1983.