New York Knicks Mount Rushmore
OTG Basketball presents, NBA Mount Rushmore, where we look at who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of each team in the league. Up next, is the New York Knicks.
Willis Reed drove the Knicks to their only two championships. Not only did Reed win the Finals MVP in both of those years, he was also a part of one of the most iconic Finals moments in NBA history. In Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, Willis Reed was a game-time decision with a torn thigh muscle. Minutes before tipoff, Willis Reed walked out of the tunnel, and Madison Square Garden erupted. Reed started off the game with a few buckets in the opening quarter, which along with the home crowd, catapulted the Knicks to their first championship. Reed is also the only Knick to ever win the MVP award.
Clyde, as he is better known today, maybe more known for his creative play calling and fashion these days than he is as a player. But Walt Frazier, a Hall of Famer and a member of the 50 greatest players in the NBA, was a critical part of the Knicks only two championships. Frazier’s reputation as one of the Knicks’ announcers and his fashion keep him relevant but he is a no-brainer on this list in large part to being one of the leaders of the only two championships the Knicks have ever won. Frazier always came up big when it mattered. He averaged 20.7ppg, 7.2rpg, and 6.4apg during the playoffs over his career. All of those averages are higher than his regular season averages. While people talk more about Willis Reed’s memorable appearance in the 1970 Finals Game 7, it was Frazier and his 36 points, 19 assist performance that led them to the win.
Ewing was the Knicks’ prize for winning the 1985 NBA Draft lottery. With 13 playoff appearances during his 15-year tenure as a Knick, Ewing was one of the best big men of his generation. He was undeniably the best player of the 90’s Knicks that many fell in love with. With his gritty defense and reliable offensive play, Ewing, as likable a guy as anyone, gained many fans. He played in a tough era where the Eastern Conference went through Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, and later, the Shaquille O’Neal-led Magic and the rival Heat. Regardless, Ewing continuously gave the Knicks a chance to win the whole thing and got the city and the league back to caring about the Knicks.
This was the toughest call. You cannot have a Mt. Rushmore of the Knicks without naming Reed, Frazier, and Ewing. But many will debate over DeBusschere, and Bernard King for the last spot. For me, it came down to winning. Bernard King was a great player, he made four All-Star appearances, made two All-NBA First Teams, and led the league in scoring once. And maybe he would have won a ring too if he played on the team that DeBusschere did. Regardless, the consensus is that DeBusschere, considered one of the greatest defensive front-court players of all time, is what put the Knicks over the top during their championship years. With six All-Defensive 1st team appearances and eight All-Star Game appearances, DeBusschere was a great individual player who did whatever his team asked of him for the sake of winning.