Will these Knicks have the 1973 knack?Posted: April 16, 2013
The 1973 Knicks….and Spike Lee….were reunited recently at Madison Square Garden.
Through the years, New York sports fans have been spoiled by success. The Yankees have won more championships than any other professional team in North America. The Giants have won a pair of Super Bowls since 2008, both stirring wins over the favored new England Patriots. The Mets and the Jets have experienced miracle moments. Even the Rangers ended a 54-year drought to win the 1994 Stanley Cup.
And then there are the New York Knicks, Gotham’s answer to the Chicago Cubs, who for all their failures throughout the years might as well be stationed in Cleveland.
The Knicks enter the playoffs as second seed in the East, a team with high expectations but also a team with the weight of the world on its shoulders.
It’s been 40 years since the Knicks, one of the NBA’s two remaining charter franchises (the Boston Celtics are the other), last won a title. Back in 1973. Watergate was percolating, gasoline cost 40 centers a gallon, and George Steinbrenner was buying the Yankees from CBS for $12 million.
Things were different on the court too. For the most part, the game was played below the rim. The players wore tight shorts and funny sneakers and had long hair. And there was no three-point line.
Some refer to the 1973 Knicks as the forgotten champions. New York had won its first NBA title three years earlier, a championship ingrained in basketball lore when injured center Willis Reed walked on the Madison Square Garden court to spark his teammates to a Game 7 victory.
After losing the Lakers in five games in the NBA Finals in 1972, the Knicks realized their window of opportunity was closing fast. But with a Hall of Fame starting five — Reed was joined by forwards Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley and guards Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe — the Knicks beat Boston in seven games in the Eastern finals, then took Los Angeles in five games for the championship.
Every Knick team since then has been unfavorably compared to those two championship squads of the early 70s.
Until recently, no known footage of that 1973 championship clincher existed. Proving that perhaps you can go back, the MSG Network recently unearthed a copy of that Game 5 win.