In the tradition of The Boys of Summer and The Bronx Is Burning, New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton delivers a fascinating look at the 1970s New York Knicks—part autobiography, part sports history, part epic, set against the tumultuous era when Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, and Bill Bradley reigned supreme in the world of basketball. Perfect for readers of Jeff Pearlman’s The Bad Guys Won!, Peter Richmond’s Badasses, and Pat Williams’s Coach Wooden, Araton’s revealing story of the Knicks’ heyday is far more than a review of one of basketball’s greatest teams’ inspiring story—it is, at heart, a stirring recreation of a time and place when the NBA championships defined the national dream.
Long before he was a sports columnist for the New York Times, native New Yorker Araton grew up loving the Knicks during their championship heyday. Personal significance aside, according to Araton, the teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s "were the city's first true basketball love, consummated in the years before the romance of sport became complicated by money and the constructed divide between athlete and fan." Their share-the-wealth success spurred countless books and created several heroes, such as Walt "Clyde" Frazier, who was smooth on and off the court, and inspirational leader Willis Reed, whose dramatic return from a painful knee injury in game seven of the 1970s NBA finals cemented his legend. Araton profiles the team's construction, its players (some of whom have seen better days since retirement), and the high profile fans ( Woody Allen, Elliot Gould) who may have helped turn pro basketball into a media-savvy, worldwide business. The author's attempts to tie the era's political tumult and his own personal experiences to the larger story feel arbitrary and forced, but this thoroughly reported examination of the "Old Knicks" and their connection to the city is still an essential read for basketball history buffs. 8 pages of b&w photo.
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When garden was Eden
Must read if basketball
and Knick fan!!
Those were the days, trying to emulate Barnett's jumper (left handed) while practicing in high school, and then listening in May 1970 while driving through the Alps at night when West heaved the shot 3/4's the length of the court to tie game!
Good question. If you are of a certain age, grew up a vintage Knicks fan, and need a stroll down memory lane to feel good about your former obsession with Reed, Frazier, DeBuschere, et al, this might be for you. The author takes curious detours to recount his life (who cares) or spends far too much time highlighting obnoxious celebrity Knicks fans (no, not just Spike), which I found distracting. However, interviews with present day vintage Knicks were a revealing contrast to present day overpaid celeb-letes.
If you don't fit the above, don't bother. You'll never understand why or give a $#%T.