Basketball and pop culture were forever changed in NYC on May 3, 1967. That’s when Walt “Clyde” Frazier was drafted by the New York Knicks.
In 1967 the look of the New York Knicks was irrevocably changed with the drafting of Walt “Clyde” Frazier. The future seven-time All-Star phenom not only helped lead the team to their only two championships, but he also gave the team it’s shine. Now, at the tender age of 75, he’s still giving the Garden that Mecca glow.
The New York Knicks were a part of a trio of iconic ball clubs in the ’70s. It was the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks who headlined the NBA. Walter “Clyde” Frazier, Jr. was part of the team that gave them that status. Walt Frazier Jr. was drafted fifth overall in the 1967 NBA Draft, making his debut on October 28th of the same year.
Frazier attended the all-Black Howard High School in Atlanta, GA. Walt was a leader on two different teams, neither of them basketball. He was the quarterback of the football team and the catcher on the baseball team. As for his hoops prowess, that he learned on a substandard dirty playground, which was all that was afforded at his high school.
After high school, Walt turned down several football scholarships and took his basketball talents to Southern Illinois University. In 50 games for the Carbondale, Il school, he averaged 18 points and 10.5 rebounds. At the time SIU was what is now known as a Division II school and ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. Instead, he took them over to the more prestigious NIT and led the charge against Marquette in the finals, for the tournament victory.
A New Type of NBA Talent
Let’s not forget the reason the man was in New York. To ball, and ball out he did. By his third year with the team, Clyde averaged 20.9 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game. He has always been a team player, Frazier never takes credit for leading the team to the Knicks only two championships. In a February 2020 New York Post article, Frazier tells Marc Berman::
We personified team. You can’t mention Frazier without Bradley or Barnett. In ’73 [the Knicks’ second title], we had better talent with Earl [Monroe] and Jerry Lucas. But ’69-70, we had to play as a team to win. That and defense. I could’ve scored more. Willis could’ve scored more. But we wouldn’t have been champions. Everyone sacrificed, especially to get everyone involved.
Clyde’s NBA accomplishments include:
- Seven-time NBA All-Star
- Two-time NBA Champion
- Six-time All-NBA
- Seven-time All-Defensive
- 1967-68 All-Rookie
- 1974-75 All-Star MVP