Frazier, Reed, Bradley, and Breen Remember 1970 Knicks Championship
As I wrote about the other day, MSG Networks is using this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever championship won by the New York Knicks. The actual anniversary is today - Friday, May 8 - meaning that MSG Networks will have a full day and night of coverage on the air.
At 5:00 and 7:30 pm tonight, viewers can tune into a special edition of the "MSG 150 at Home" featuring Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed, and hosted by Mike Breen. 5:30 and 8:00pm will bring Knicks fans re-airings of the series-clinching Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals.
The roundtable discussion that is the MSG 150 at Home features three Knick greats, all from that year's championship squad. With current play-by-play broadcaster Mike Breen as host, this program will be a must-watch for fans interested in the history of their storied franchise. The group discusses Willis Reed's famed return from injury before Game 7, regarding which Reed said that the greatest advantage the team had over the Lakers was the home court advantage. He added that if he had to play one game anywhere in the world, he would choose to play "at Madison Square Garden with the fans."
Also in the MSG 150 at Home special, Walt Frazier and Willis Reed both stress during the interview that Head Coach Red Holzman's philosophy entering the game was a full-on team approach. Frazier said that Red would typically pull him to the side after leaving the locker room and tell him the philosophy with which he should approach a particular game. Before Game 7, Coach Holzman told Frazier that he had to "hit the open man". Frazier followed this philosophy to an extent that got a recently-cortisone injected Willis Reed involved early, and the Knicks their first championship.
Most playoff series that extend to seven games will have the seventh and final game viewed as the most important. In the interview special, Bill Bradley claims that the most important game was Game 5 - the game in which Willis Reed got injured. Bradley notes that the team had to adapt to an entirely new offense on the spot, and that their ability to do so and execute it properly displayed their unselfishness, imagination, and discipline as a team. Frazier added that "Bradley was the catalyst", and that it was his idea to change the offense.
That 1970 Knicks team was, is, and will (for a long time) be loved by fans. When asked why the team was so loved on and off the court, the three players provided some interesting information. Willis Reed noted that everyone liked each other and "respected each other's skills". "We had a team that on any given night had at least eight players, sometimes nine players that could be a leading scorer on any night," explained Reed. Frazier noted that the team was full of "positive role models" who wanted to do the right thing for their fans. He also seconded Bill Bradley's comments regarding teamwork, which were that the team was unselfish and played a game that was understood by the city of New York. Bradley added that he always says that in the Garden, "people would always applaud the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the basket."
Fans should take the time to enjoy some coverage on the first ever Knicks team to achieve the goal all NBA teams are supposed to begin each season with: bring home a championship.