Unsung Knick History – The First All-Black Game in NBA History

This is the latest in a series of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

As Black History Month comes to a close, I thought it would be nice to take a look at a nearly forgotten piece of NBA racial history. Earlier in the season, the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Miami Heat in a thrilling 95-89 overtime victory in Los Angeles. While the nationally televised game certainly drew a lot of attention, what drew no attention was the group of players that competed in the game. All eighteen players in the game were African-American. This is not necessarily a common occurrence in the National Basketball Association (NBA) nowadays (particularly with the influx of talented players from Europe and the rest of the world), but it is common enough that I bet no one even noticed the fact during the Heat/Clippers game. Everyone just enjoyed an exciting basketball game, which is how it should be. However, like all instances of racial progress, before things can be accepted as simply “normal” there first has to be someone willing to be the trailblazer. In this case, it was the 1979-80 New York Knicks and a match-up against the Detroit Pistons on October 18, 1979 that changed the game for African-American players for years to come.

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Unsung Knick History – The Easter Resurrection of 1973

This is the thirty-first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

The 2010-11 New York Knicks now know what seed they will be in the 2011 NBA Playoffs and who their opponents will be, the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. If the Knicks have any thoughts about an extended playoff run, they’ll first have to get past the Celtics. Therefore, I figured it would be worth taking a look back at the last time the New York Knicks won an NBA Championship, and the remarkable upset they accomplished on the way to the NBA Finals – an upset over these very same Boston Celtics. This upset included one of the more amazing comebacks in NBA Playoff history, the so-called “Easter Resurrection.”

So before the Knicks take on the Boston Celtics tonight (in anticipation of their playoff meeting this Sunday), let’s all first revel in both one of the great playoff series in Knick history (a series that gets overshadowed by the series that followed it) and one of the great Knick playoff victories.

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Unsung Knick History – The Worst Stretch Run in Knick History

This is the thirtieth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

The 2010-11 New York Knicks have now clinched a playoff berth. Also, with a 38-38 record before last night’s win, they could close out this stretch run nicely and finish the season over .500 (which would be the first time they finished a season over .500 since the 1999-2000 season!) and depending on how tonight’s match-up against the Philadelphia 76ers goes (plus the next four games, of course), the Knicks can finish with the #6 seed and second place in the Atlantic Division (something they also haven’t achieved since 2000). Interestingly enough, if we go back 31 years, the Knicks finished the season with a match-up where they were playing the Philadelphia 76ers and the stakes were similar – if the Knicks won, they would be the #6 seed. The problem was, during the 1979-80 season, only six seeds made the playoffs.

The Knicks did not make the playoffs in the 1979-80 season. To find out why, let me tell you about the worst stretch run in Knicks History.

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Unsung Knick History – How the “Marion Flu” Ailed the Knicks

This is the twenty-ninth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

As of right now, due to the Houston Rockets currently being on the outside of the Western Conference playoff race, the New York Knicks will be making a pick in the teens for the first time in over a decade (as they were either picking in the single digits because they were awful, picking in the 20s because they were good or just not picking at all because they traded their pick). Actually, they’ll be picking in the teens either way, it just matters where in the teens (if the Rockets make it to the playoffs, their pick will be worse). In any event, the last time the Knicks drafted in the teens, they infamously picked the French center Frédéric Weis, who never even made it to the NBA and is now best known (besides being a wasted pick by the Knicks) as the guy who Vince Carter posterized in the 2000 Summer Olympics. That pick was particularly notable because the Knicks passed over St. Johns University star Ron Artest, who went to the Chicago Bulls with the next pick.

A reader named Chico asked me the other day what the reason was behind that pick, so today we’ll discuss how the “Marion flu” made the Knicks sick for years to come.

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Unsung Knick History – Small School, Big Results (for the Knicks)

This is the twenty-eighth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

With the NCAA Basketball Tournament into full swing, I thought it would be fun to spotlight a point in history where a team’s success in the tournament directly led to the Knicks drafting a player who would turn out fairly well for them (well, depends on what you think about two NBA championships). The player in question is Walt Frazier, and the way that the Knicks were able to develop a relationship with him was due to the interesting way that college basketball programs were considered “small” back in 1967.

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Unsung Knick History – How Greg Anthony Killed the Knicks’ 1996-97 Season

This is the twenty-seventh in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

John Lennon once said that “Instant Karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you right on the head.” However, in the case of the Knicks and their infamous 1993 brawl against the Phoenix Suns, the karma was not instant. Instead, it knocked the Knicks right in the head over four years later, when the Knicks fell victim to a series of reactions set off by Greg Anthony’s actions on March 23, 1993.

Let’s find out how it all happened!

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Unsung Knick History – The FIRST Notable Knick #15

This is the twenty-sixth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

There has recently been some discussion about the number 15, specifically about how Carmelo Anthony has worn the number on his uniforms since college but cannot wear it as a Knick today since it has already been retired by the Knicks twice (once for Dick McGuire and once for Earl Monroe). Amazingly enough, though, there was actually another notable Knick who wore the #15 – a Knick who made history as the first non-Caucasian (and the first Japanese American) player to play in what is now the NBA!

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