As you may know, on Sunday February 20th Amar’e Stoudemire will become the first Knick to start in the NBA All-Star Game since Patrick Ewing did so in 1992. In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to take a look back at the ten greatest moments in Knicks All-Star history, including a couple great moments from the larger All-Star Weekend. Some of these come from the recent past, while others date back to a time before I, and perhaps some of you, were alive. What all these moments have in common is that they show that Knicks players know how to step up for the Midseason Classic.
1. Willis Reed Begins His Triple-Crown Season (1970)
In 1970, everything was coming up very Willis Reed. The big man who was drafted out of Grambling State five years earlier had been a double-double machine since his rookie season, and in the ’69-’70 season, he reached a new scoring average high and led the Knicks to win 60 games in the regular season. His appearance in the 1970 All-Star game was a very impressive outing, in which he put up 21 and 11 and led the East to a 142-130 victory, good enough to take home MVP honors. The real significance of this lies in the fact that his MVP award would go on to become the first leg of a historic triple crown. Reed would also be named the regular season MVP and the Finals MVP, after coming back from a Game 7 injury to will the Knicks to victory over the Lakers in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest Finals series of all time. This was the first time that a player achieved all three honors in one season. While his gutsy Game 7 return is one of the iconic images of the NBA, it is important to remember that Reed was not only the best player in the Finals, but the best player for the whole season, as well as in the future Hall of Famer-packed All-Star showdown. Reed’s season was one of the finest any player has ever had, and the beginning of his MVP award sweep has to be considered the finest All-Star moment in Knicks history.