The N.Y. Knicks: Team, King, Warrior & Master

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“Winning and Grinning” is a common colloquialism that the truest of Knicks fans are all too familiar with hearing during the telecast of a game on MSG. This phrase, along with many other candid and color dictations, are the creative isms articulated by legendary N.Y. Knick and NBA Hall of Fame inductee Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Modern day fans recognize Walt “Clyde” Frazier more for his eloquent commentary and flamboyant fashion, however for many Knicks fans of the past thirty plus years, the man simply and affectionately known as “Clyde” represents something both bitter and sweet. He is a constant reminder of the Knicks golden era in which he assisted in capturing the franchise’s only two championships, but he also reminds rabid N.Y. basketball fans of the barren championship drought that has stemmed some 41 years and still counting. New York has always been referred to as the “Mecca of Basketball”, however unlike the city located in Hejaz that is the birthplace of the Muslim savior Muhammad, the New York Knicks have been in search of their own basketball savior. A savior who could resurrect the franchise and lead them back to the illusive top of Mount Olympus, ultimately leading to a baptism of champagne and confetti parade trails down the Canyon of Heroes. This feat has been easier said then done, as we have seen a bevy of heroic attempts that have always seem to fall short, only further cementing the immortal and iconic legacies of both coach Red Holzman and the members of that 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams. As we reflect on the past 41 years of ineptitude, the historical and well chronicled dissent from ascension can be justly summarized in one orderly phrase: Team, King, Warrior & Master. Let us reflect on the tumultuous road towards glory and championship immortality.

We can start with epitome of the franchise’s echelon (Team) which is the 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams. A team that many regarded as being one of the greatest assembly of individual talent in NBA history. Armed with a plethora of all-star caliber players, they would go on to edify and capsulate the ideologies of teamwork, sacrifice and commitment, all under the coaching guidance of the late, great Red Holzman. Players like Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Bill Bradley, Willis Reed and Dave DeBusschere would go on to be heroic figures in the hearts and minds of many New York sports fans abound. Proving that championships all but solidify eternal admiration that exceeds both time and generations when achieved under the hot lights of the Empire State. From the echelon peak we transition to a slight valley where a legendary “King” would dwell. Bernard King, the would-be Knick savior and recent Hall of Fame inductee, would electrify the “Garden Hopefuls” with a prolific scoring prowess that would vault him into the conversation of being one of the best pure scorers to ever grace the hardwood of the NBA. Unfortunately Bernard King would be a solo act on the Madison Square Garden stage and would eventually succumb to a near career ending knee injury that ultimately jettisoned him out of New York leaving him to resurrect his career as a Washington Bullet in 1987. This devastating knee injury would prove to be very costly as it would prevent Bernard King from being paired with the recently drafted (Warrior) Patrick Ewing. A pairing that many projected would have placed the New York Knicks into championship contention for years to come. One would have to wonder how one player’s injury could set back a franchise that had a talent the caliber of Patrick Ewing featured at center. Well the answer to that is quite the quagmire of Murphy’s Law. Patrick Ewing in his fifteen years as a New York Knick would never be paired with another superstar caliber player his entire career. He would eventually receive help in the form of a mod squad of tenacious role players, however this came during the epic reign of Michael Jordan. During Michael Jordan’s hiatus, Ewing would reach the NBA Finals, but would ultimately succumb to the Hakeem Olujawon led Houston Rockets. Patrick Ewing eventually returned to the finals, but as an injured player; as the Knicks would lose to the David Robinson’s San Antonio Spurs. Patrick Ewing would eventually be traded to the Seattle Supersonics, thus ending an illustrious career and beginning what would be the darken doldrums of a forever collapsing franchise. The Knicks would attempt to resuscitate its allure with the signing of Amare Stoudermire and Carmelo Anthony, however outside of one promising season, it has been a disastrous experiment to say the least. So once again the New York Knicks franchise and their fan base find themselves looking for a new savior once again. A savior who can not only resurrect a fallen franchise but one who could also give the New York Knicks fans hope and promise. This feat may require the skills of a true “Master”. A “Master” who is trained in both the art of war and the philosophy of winning. Enter in the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson. Welcome home Phil. The saga continues…#lucky13

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