The Season that The New York Knicks are having, there a multitude of things to look forward too; whether it is the season finally being over, the NBA Draft or Free Agency. Before looking forward, rather look up to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. In particular look at the retired Knicks numbers 10, 12, 15(retired twice), 19 22, 24, 33 and 613. In order to move forward you have to look at the past. The Knicks are having a terrible season in lack of other words, but these players are the best in the history of the franchise.
Number 10 belongs to the man known as Walt “Clyde” Fraizer. He played nine and a half seasons with the organization averaging 19.3 points per game and 6.3 assist. Frazier was the point guard of both championship seasons and a seven time All-Star and a four time NBA First Teamer. What Frazier prided himself was on defense. He would always play the passing lane as well being a premiere pickpocketer on the perimeter. Unfortunately for Frazier, steals did not become a tracked statistic until his sixth year in the league. Even though steals did not count, Frazier was one of the best defenders in the league.
Let’s not forget what Frazier did in game seven of the 1969 NBA Finals. He posted 36 points 17 assist and seven rebounds leading the Knicks to their first title.
The last name above of the retired number 12 is Barnett. Richard “Dick” Barnett joined the Knicks in 1963, previously being a Los Angeles Laker. Barnett was always known as a shooter and having one of the most unorthodox methods of shooting the ball. That did not matter for Barnett, as a New York Knick he shot 46% from the field. Barnett did not consume the spotlight, he let his game shine on the court. He did make an All-Star appearance as a Knick and averaged 15.6 points.
Earl “The Pearl” Monroe was a huge contributor to the Knicks winning their second championship, doing this while sporting the number 15. Monroe was an up and coming scorer for the Baltimore Bullets. Monroe stated that the toughest person to score on was Frazier. When he was acquired, it resulted to a harmonious backcourt. With Frazier not having to guard Monroe anymore, Monroe could work within the offense. In the playoffs for the Knicks he averaged 14.4 a game. He was also a two time All-Star as a Knick.
The other retired 15 number is Dick McGuire. What makes his number retired as a Knick special is that he is truly a life long Knickerbocker. Growing up in New York City and playing his collegiate ball at St. Johns, it was fitting that the Knicks selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 1949 BAA Draft. A five time All-Star and a point guard that averaged 5.6 assist at the helm of the Knicks offense. After his playing days, he continued to work with the Knicks either as a scout, coach or an adviser; in total he spent fifty three years with the origination.
Nicknamed “The Captain” Willis Reed’s 19 also floats in the rafters at Madison Square Garden. One of the most memorable Knicks moments has to deal with Reed. Following a Game Six injury in the 1969 NBA Finals, he was doubtful to play in Game Seven. Reed emerged from the locker room before tip off and the crowd erupted in cheers. He scored the first two baskets which were his only baskets, but that’s not the point; he came out there and tried to play despite being injured. Also in that championship year he was League MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP. While not being injured Reed was a force to be reckoned with in the paint. He played his entire ten year career as a Knick, seven out of the ten years he was selected as an All-Star and averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds a game.
Dave DeBusschere graced the number 22 as a Knick. Coming over the Pistons, the Knicks new they were getting a defensive presence. He was coming off a bad coaching situation in Detriot, so him coming to New York was a rejuvenation. With a player of DeBusschere’s caliber, he was the key component to the Knicks winning the championship. He was a hard noise player grabbing rebounds and allowed Willis Reed to move to the center position. Although defense was his forte, he can also score the ball when necessary. DeBusschere made five consecutive All-Star appearances as well as averaging 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds as a Knick.
The Princeton man Bill Bradley became a Knick in 1969 and ended his career in 1977 in the number 24 uniform. Bradley had a shaky start as a Knick because he did not immediately join the team, he went to study at Oxford University before joining the organization. When he finally got to playing, fans were skeptical about him because he was not performing up to the hype that surrounded him. Bradley averaged 14.6 points 4.o rebounds and 3.7 assist. He came into the form of his hype when the Knicks won both of their championships.
The number one overall pick in the 1985 belonged to the New York Knicks and they selected a center out of Georgetown, that center was none other than Patrick Ewing. Number 33 did not let the limelight of playing in New York City get to him him, he embraced it. His eleven All-Star appearances as a Knick can attest to his consistent dominance. His Knick career fished with him averaging 22.2 points 10.2 rebounds 2.0 assists and 2.7 blocks per game.
Ewing really cemented his Knick legacy in the 90’s. Even though they did not win a championship, they did make it to the finals. Even when in the playoffs, he played efficiently averaging 20.2 points 10.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
Now for the 613 that is retired, that represents the amount of wins for Head Coach Red Holzman. He took home the Coach of the Year award in their championship season of 1969. In that season he coached the teams to sixty victories, going nineteen games over .500, also going on an eighteen game winning streak. In 1997 he earned an award for The Top 10 Coaches of All Time. Holzman prided his team on his defensive, he coached the team up his way and the players bought into his system which equaled success.
Holzman had the privilege of coaching Fraizer, Monroe, DeBusschere, Reed, Barnett and Bradley. All five of these players were apart of the Knicks championships season. Seven of the retired numbers are inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a New York Knicks. These players have their own legacy in the league, but they will forever be a New York Knick.