As part of the celebration of 75 years of the NBA, the league released its list of 75 greatest players in history, which included several New York Knicks legends.
You may be aware that the league first created this type of list in 1996 when it celebrated 50 years of professional basketball and therefore revealed the 50 greatest players.
The league decided to create the suspense by releasing the 75 players at random for three days (25 players at a time). The alternative would have simply been to reveal the 25 new players who were selected, given that voters chose to keep the original 50 members.
New York Knicks: 8 players on the NBA 75 list
Luckily for the Knicks, that meant the seven former Knicks named in the NBA 50 Greatest remain in this elite group.
The Seven Legends of Knick are Dave DeBusschere, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Bob McAdoo, Earl Monroe and Willis Reed (naturally, all Hall of Fame members). The eighth and most recent former Knick to make the list was none other than Carmelo Anthony (probably the first round).
Sure, some of these players have had great success as members of other organizations, but like us Knicks fans, we like to say “Once A Knick, Always A Knick”. It’s great to see so many players representing the Orange and the Blues in this “who’s who” of NBA royalty.
DeBusschere, Lucas, and Monroe each had successful careers in other cities, but they are all notable for their key roles in both New York’s Championships, the latter two both being part of the 1973 squad. part of the two title teams ’73 and 70 ‘.
“Clyde” Frazier and “The Captain” Willis Reed were of course the recipients of these two rings as well. They were the leaders of these great Knicks teams and are without a doubt two of the three greatest Knicks of all time. Frazier is considered one of the greatest leaders and defensive players of all time. Reed has a stellar CV and is also an all-time elite player at center position. He was MVP and 2 times MVP of the finals.
Bob McAdoo’s New York career was brief but nonetheless transcendent. McAdoo is known for his work pioneering the big men who jump and handle the ball we see today. In 1975 he was named league MVP and he won 2 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers as a role player.
Anthony made six all-star teams in six and a half seasons with the Knicks. He was the catalyst for the 2012-13 team which won 54 games. He also won the top scorer title and finished 3rd in the MVP vote that year. Carmelo’s greatest achievement has been to become one of the NBA’s top 10 all-time point guard.
Last, but not least, Patrick Ewing is the greatest Knick of all time. Ewing was selected first in the 1985 NBA Draft, won Rookie of the Year in 1986, and led the team to a final appearance in 1994. He was the Knicks classic team superstar. from the 90s who dominated with a defensive physique and ball mark.
As for the all-time New York Knicks who deserve to be in the NBA 75 conversation, the official roster was almost a perfect 9 for 9. But, sadly, there was one important New York legend who was. snubbed.
Bernard King, who also missed the cut for the 1996 Top 50 list, was not included. King spent 4 premier seasons in New York, making it the All-Star Game twice. He also won the leading scorer title in 1985, averaging 32.9 points per game, the highest single-season average in New York Knicks history.
It’s sad to know that King has lost the honor twice now, but it’s heartwarming to know that he’s rightly a Hall of Fame member and revered as one of the top scorers and players. of his generation.
Maybe in 25 years, when the NBA inevitably compiles a Top 100 list, King will finally get there. It could be poetic in the sense that King also waited many years before being recognized by the Hall in 2013.
Hopefully when the day comes for the league to once again create an elite roster of the league, some current Knicks (Julius Randle, Derrick Rose or RJ Barrett maybe?) Or a player who may soon be joining the squad. can be recognized. For now, I would say about 10% of the top 75 NBA players who have all donned New York on their chests are incredibly satisfying.