By: Andrew Horowitz
The New York Knicks have been around for over 65 years, a staple franchise in the NBA. Sure they have only one two NBA championships, but through the years amazing talent has worn a Knicks uniform. Their current motto on their uniform states, “Once a Knick, Always a Knick,” let’s make this claim a reality. If you could pick any past or present Knick and assemble an all-time Knicks’ squad what would it be? I know my picks. Do you agree?
Point Guard- Walt “Clyde” Frazier
Born as Walt Frazier Jr., but simply too cool, collected, and talented to not be given an alter ego, Walt was given the name “Knickname” Clyde after folk-hero robber Clyde Barrow. He played for the Knicks from 1967-1977 and scored an average of 19.3 points per game during his tenure. He also played in seven All-Star Games, was named to the All-NBA First Team four times, and the NBA-All Defensive Team seven times. Most importantly however, Clyde led the team to their only two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. In the deciding game of the 1970 NBA Finals, Clyde had an all-time NBA Finals performance. He dropped 36 points, dished out 19 assists, and had five steals in a game where Willis Reed was severely hobbled. In Clyde’s words, “There’s no doubt that ’69-70 championship team was the highlight of my career. I think about that team every day.” In 1996, he was given the honor of being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He is still regarded as a folk-hero by Knicks fan everywhere, and without Walt Frazier the Knicks may very well still be searching for their first ring- Thanks Clyde!
Shooting Guard- Earl “The Pearl” Monroe
A basketball maestro, Earl Monroe was given his nickname “The Pearl”, in college, to describe his scoring prowess. He was traded to the Knicks in 1971 and struggled at first to gel with Clyde, but in their second season together they began to coexist well on the court earning praise around the league. Monroe helped lead the Knicks to their second NBA championship in 1973, and quickly became an MSG favorite with his dazzling display of moves. Earl retired in 1980 after being an exceptional player for the Knicks for nearly 10 seasons. In 1996 Earl, like Clyde, was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Besides bringing a second championship to New York, Earl showcased a dazzling individual skill set within the team oriented game. To this day, Monroe is one of the most respected and beloved Knicks of all time, as well as one half of one of the most dynamic backcourts in NBA history. Therefore, Monroe is the Knicks all-time best shooting guard.
Small Forward- Bernard King
A Brooklyn native but a Knicks legend, Bernard King was one of the most prolific scorers in
franchise history. Bernard was traded to the Knicks in 1982 and played for the Knicks for five full seasons. In 1985, King led the NBA in scoring averaging nearly 33 ppg and on Christmas day dropped 60 points to set a Knick franchise record. Unfortunately, Bernard tore his ACL at the end of that season and missed nearly two full seasons in the prime of his career. Although Bernard never came close to winning a championship with the team, his pure domination in the early stages of the 1980’s makes him one of the greatest talents the Knicks franchise has every possessed. Who knows if Bernard could have helped the Knicks get over the hump had he not tore up his knee? To this day Bernard is the most talented score in Knicks history, and is the player the Knicks current generation superstar Carmelo Anthony has modeled his game after.
Power Forward- Dave DeBusschere
Dave DeBusschere is the definition of a hard-nosed power forward. DeBusschere played for the Knicks from 1968 until 1974, and was an integral part of the Knicks’ two championship teams. In his prime with the Knicks, Dave was considered one of the game’s all-time best defenders, even though he was undersized for his position. He was known for his gritty play and unmatched work ethic. DeBusschere had some scoring ability, but similarly to Tyson Chandler he never demanded touches- a true selfless player. After his illustrious career ended, Dave was elected to the NBA Hall of Fame and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time. More important than his two rings, Dave was loved by all of his peers. As former Knick Bill Bradley put it, “You don’t replace a Dave DeBusschere.” Thus, he is the best power forward in Knicks history and one of the most respected players in NBA history.
Center- Willis Reed
In Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, a hobbled Willis Reed made his way out of the tunnel to the delight of the crowd and inspired the New York Knicks to win their first ever NBA championship- still one of the most talked about moments in NBA history. According to Reed himself, “There isn’t a day in my life that people don’t remind me of that game.” In that magical 1970 season, Willis was named the MVP of the All-Star Game, regular season, and Finals, a simply unbelievable feat. Reed played in the NBA for 10 seasons, all with the Knicks, and was known for his versatile game. He had the ability to overpower opponents inside, but also could step 15 feet away and knock down a jump shot. For his career, he averaged about 19 points a game to go along with 13 rebounds. After he retired, Reed was named one of the 50 greatest players of all-time, along with DeBusschere, Frazier, and Monroe. Even though Patrick Ewing may have better numbers overall, Reed’s courage and sacrifice puts him atop the list of Knicks centers. After all, Ewing was never was able to get a ring.