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.
December 27, 1967: The New York Knicks hire Red Holzman as Head Coach
In a franchise altering move, the Knicks fired Dick McGuire and hired Red Holzman as head coach. McGuire – a native of the Bronx – spent 8 years playing point guard with the Knicks and was a 7-time NBA All Star. After a stint as player-coach and head coach with the Detroit Pistons, the Knicks hired him as head coach in 1965.
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.
December 3, 1990: Knicks fire Stu Jackson and hire John Macleod as head coach
The Knicks fired Stu Jackson and hired John MacLeod to take over as head coach. Jackson was an assistant on Rick Pitino’s staff dating back to his days coaching the Providence men’s basketball team. Once Pitino left the Knicks for the University of Kentucky, the Knicks hired Stu Jackson as head coach, marking him the third youngest coach in Knicks history, at the time.1Vince “Moose” Boryla (29 years old) & Carl Braun (32 years old) were younger. The NBA website seems to think Stu Jackson is the then-2nd youngest coach in NBA History for some reasonContinue reading →
November 12, 1991: Ewing hits double figures in points for the 214th consecutive game
Patrick Ewing scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 98-96 win on the road against the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. The game marked the 214th straight game (a Knick record) Ewing scored in double figures. The streak was ultimately broken the next game when Ewing was held to only 6 points. Continue reading →
November 10th 1971: The New York Knicks acquire Earl Monroe from the Baltimore Bullets for Mike Riordan, Dave Stallworth, & cash
The Earl Monroe trade will forever be remembered as one of the greatest trades in Knicks history. Leading up to the moment, Monroe requested a trade from the team and preferred to be sent to one of the Lakers, Bulls, or 76ers. While away from the team, Monroe received a call from his agent stating that there was a deal with the Knicks. Continue reading →
September 17th 1983: The New York Knicks re-acquire Ray Williams
The New York Knicks re-acquired their former 1st round pick Ray Williams via two separate trades. The Knicks first traded backup shooting guard Vince Taylor and a 1984 1st round pick to the Indiana Pacers for future Hawks GM Billy Knight. The Knicks subsequently traded Knight to the Kansas City Kings for Williams. Continue reading →
May 8th 1970: Willis Reed hobbles to the floor to lead the Knicks to their first NBA Championship
One of the most iconic moments in sports history. Willis Reed, with a torn thigh muscle expected to sideline him in Game 7, surprised the Madison Square Garden faithful and the NBA on ABC broadcasting team as he limped from the tunnel to the court to play in the final game of the NBA Finals. After missing Game 6 due to the injury, Reed received some painkillers before shootaround before limping onto the court.
Reed started the game scoring on his first two jumpshots. Despite not scoring a basket afterwards, his perseverance inspired his teammates. Although Reed was hobbled, he played a valiant defensive effort on Wilt Chamberlain, forcing a few missed shots while in action. His energy instead translated over to Walt “Clyde” Frazier.
Clyde had one of the most impressive playoff performances in NBA history with 36 points, 19 assists, and 7 rebounds on 12-19 from the field and 12-12 from the free throw line. The performance was overshadowed by Willis Reed’s comeback from his injury.
The Knicks defeated the Lakers 113-99 to secure their first NBA championship in team history. Willis Reed earned MVP honors due to his valiant effort to return from injury as well as his dominant performance in the first 4 games of the NBA Finals. Reed averaged 31.8 ppg, 15 rbs, & 3.8 asts over the first 4 games before the injury.
The 1970 Knicks are widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball teams in NBA history. Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals is one of the greatest games ever played in sports. After the Knicks basked in the championship victory, legendary ABC broadcaster Howard Cosell told Reed, “You exemplify the very best that the human spirit can offer.”
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.
April 1st 1997: The MSG Network, along with the Knicks, run the greatest April Fools Day prank ever
Before the heyday of the modern internet and well before the days of social media, teams and players could get away with a lot of things without repercussion. The Knicks and the MSG Network decided to fool their fans on April Fools Day by announcing on their pregame show that the Knicks signed Clyde to a 10-day contract and released 3rd string PG Scott Brooks (now coach of the Wizards).
The video showed Clyde going through pregame workouts in the Knicks game uniforms. Various members of the organization participated in the stunt, including GM Ernie Grunfeld (now GM of the Wizards), Strength and Conditioning coach Greg Brittenham, Jeff Van Gundy, Don Chaney, Mike Fratello, Chris Childs, and Brooks himself. Marv Albert, Mike Breen, & John Andariese also participated in the video mock-analyzing the move.
Scott Brooks did a masterful acting job as he appeared quite aghast at the move and anticipated signing with a rival team to face the Knicks & Clyde again. Brooks threw a few slight digs at Clyde’s overall age in the process. It was only at the end where news anchor Bob Page reminded fans that the day was April Fool’s Day.
In the era of social media, no team would be able to pull this prank off anymore unnoticed. If anything, you’d have to hope that there was a coordinated effort between Woj, Shams, Marc Stein, and all others to play in with the prank. Additionally, MSG had plenty of cooperation and access to various members of the Knicks coaching staff to participate. I don’t believe Dolan or the current Knicks front office would have the creativity to do something similar.
March 31st 1977: Walt “Clyde” Frazier & Bob McAdoo combine for 71 points to keep the Knicks in the playoff hunt
Walt “Clyde” Frazier & Bob McAdoo combined for 71 points to help lead the Knicks past the Pacers 135-131. Clyde scored a season high 41 points on 12-20 from the field and 17-20 from the free throw line. He also had 11 assists, 7 rebounds, and 6 steals.
McAdoo scored 30 points on 12-18 from the field and had 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. 6 Knicks combined for double figures in scoring to help the Knicks achieve victory.
The victory temporarily kept the Knicks alive in the playoff race. Unfortunately, their final record, 40-42, was not enough for the Knicks to reach the playoffs. After the season ended, the Knicks replaced Red Holzman with Willis Reed and traded Clyde to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
March 25th 1972: The New York Knicks set a new home attendance record in a victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers
The Knicks went on a pursuit to break the home attendance record with a resounding 98-83 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The sold-out crowd of 19,588 fans set a new regular season record of 785,298 fans. The number broke the record set last year, by the Knicks, of 763,487 fans.
With Earl Monroe sidelined due to injury, Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Dick Barnett shouldered the offensive load for the team. Clyde scored 23 points while Barnett scored 19 in 35 minutes of action.
The game also featured one of the rare fights during the 1971-72 season between Jerry Lucas and Rick Roberson. Punches were thrown (but missed), but the scuffle ended without further conflict or suspension. Before the David Stern era, the penalties for fighting in a game were either rare or nonexistent at best.
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.
March 1st 1986: Knicks retire Earl Monroe’s jersey
The Knicks retired Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s #15 on this date. The Pearl played 9 seasons with the Knicks after the team acquired him from the Baltimore Bullets. Monroe won a championship in 1973 and formed 1/2 of a dynamic duo with Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Throughout his NBA career, Monroe excited fans with his acrobatic play and smooth play on the court. He made the All Star team in 1975 and 1977 while with the Knicks. Monroe ranks 8th on the all-time Knicks scoring list.
#15 is a unique number in Knicks history as it’s the only number the organization retired twice. The Knicks later retired the number again in 1992 on behalf of Dick McGuire.
February 9th 1997: Several Knicks honored in the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players Ceremony
To commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the NBA, the league honored the 50 greatest players to play in the association. A panel of former players, coaches, and media members voted in the top 50 players. Then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announced the list on October 29th 1996 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The hotel was the site of the old Commodore Hotel. The hotel is where the NBA signed the inaugural charter 50 years earlier.
The ceremony occurred during the halftime of the 1997 NBA All star Game in Cleveland. At the time, 11 active players were chosen as the Top 50 players in the league, including a then-24 year old Shaquille O’Neal. Additionally, Dave DeBusschere, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed, and Patrick Ewing represented the players who played (or in Ewing’s case, currently playing) for the Knicks.
January 28, 1975: Walt “Clyde” Frazier scores 39 points and Mel Davis makes his first NBA start in a victory against the Atlanta Hawks
Clyde led the Knicks to victory with a line of 39 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. He had 35 points through three quarters, but only scored 4 points in the final quarter. The Knicks led by more than 13 points with six minutes remaining, but let the Hawks climb back into the game. The victory helped stop a stretch where the Knicks lost 14 of the previous 20 games.
This game was also notable for being Mel Davis’ first NBA start. Davis, a 6’6 St. Johns alum, was in his 2nd season with the team before he received his first start on this date. In 32 minutes, Davis had a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Red Holzman decided to start Davis to provide additional frontcourt grittiness, while allowing Phil Jackson to come off the bench to provide versatility playing either the power forward or center positions.
Mel spent most of his 5-year NBA career with the Knicks. He spent a few years overseas and had a successful post-basketball career working with Pepsico, and later the NBA. He eventually became the Executive Director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. The association helps NBA players successfully transition into a post-retirement career. Some of the duties include understanding pensions and obtaining post-basketball education.
January 27th 1963: Marv Albert calls his first ever New York Knicks game on radio
Marv Albert called his first Knicks radio game by filling in for long-time mentor and “Voice of the Knicks” Marty Glickman. Glickman was stuck overseas in Newfoundland due to travel delays. Albert called the game on WCBS radio. The Knicks lost 123-110 in Boston.
Marv became the full-time play-by-play radio announcer for the Knicks in 1967 and held the role until the mid-1980s. He also did some play-by-play on TV in the early 1980s. Albert’s TV arrangement called for him to announce the Knicks’ road games while Andy Musser called all the home games.
Marv fully transitioned over to TV in 1986. In his nearly 20 years with MSG, he spent a dozen years with John Andariese and spent six years working alongside Walt “Clyde” Frazier. One of Marv’s understudies was Mike Breen. Breen spent many years as the radio play-by-play announcer and backup TV play-by-play announcer for MSG. He later took on the full-time TV role in 2004 after Marv left MSG.
Marv is also one of the voices of the NBA on national TV. He was the lead play-by-play announcer for the NBA on NBC and has been a staple on the NBA on TNT broadcasts for the past 20 years.
January 23, 1972: The New York Knicks withstand a late-game comeback against the Seattle Supersonics.
The Knicks nearly averted trouble to hold onto a 101-99 victory on the road against the Seattle Supersonics. The Knicks led by as much as 20 points by halftime and even had a 15 point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game. The Sonics went on a 9-0 run and cut the lead down to 6 with less than 40 seconds in regulation.
A combination of Earl Monroe fouling out, an unfortunate traveling call, and a costly turnover cut the lead down to 2 and gave the Sonics an opportunity to tie the game. However, Phil Jackson and Walt Frazier made the final defensive stop to seal the victory.
Monroe led the Knicks with 27 points. Clyde nearly had a triple double with 13 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. Future Knicks Spencer Haywood and Lenny Wilkens (coach) were on the Supersonics roster. Haywood was an All-Star for the Sonics for 4 seasons before the Knicks acquired him in a trade in 1975. Haywood teamed up with Bob McAdoo for slightly more than 3 seasons.
Lenny Wilkens served a unique role as player-coach of the Sonics. He was one of the last player-coaches in the NBA. He spent two separate stints as a player-coach with both the Seattle Supersonics & Portland Trailblazers from 1969-1972 and 1974-75. After Wilkens retired from his playing career in 1975, he became a full-time coach for the Blazers before rejoining the Sonics in 1977.
The game was also nationally televised on ABC. For viewing purposes, the game had to be played at 11:00AM pacific time. Up until the David Stern era, most nationally televised basketball games (and televised games in general) were viewed on tape-delay so families could watch in the evening hours on the weekend.