Twenty-two players that have worn the New York Knicks jersey have been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Here are my rankings of the top fifteen.
Even though the New York Knicks are in a down period, fans shouldn’t forget that it is a long and storied franchise. The team has been around for 74 years, made 42 playoff appearances with eight trips to the NBA Finals, and a pair of league championships. Some of the greatest players ever called the World’s Most Famous Arena home.
Not all of the 22 New York Knicks in the Hall of Fame spent their entire careers with the franchise, which is why only 15 players are ranked.
Should be in the hall
There is one former Knick championship player who is yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dick Barnett was a member of both championship teams and a top-ten NBA player in several fields. Barnett has the following Hall of Fame credentials:
- Two-time NBA Champion
- 1968 All-Star
- Top 10 in the NBA in points 1965-66
- Top 10 in the NBA in free throws made 1965-66
- Top 10 in the NBA in field goal percentage 1960-61 and 1966-67
- Inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2007
- #12 jersey retired by the New York Knicks March 10, 1990
Not one of these rankings was easy to do from the last rung of the ladder to the very top. Who is number one between Reed and Frazier? Who is in the top five? The New York Knicks have had some great players. Yet a third championship continues to elude them.
Eliminated from this list are coaches or players who stayed for a season or two but made their Hall of Fame numbers on other teams.
Can’t forget Red
Although I am not ranking the coaches, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least talk a little about the greatest coach ever to lead the New York Knicks, Red Holzman. According to today’s standards, maybe 613 wins isn’t much. But in the late ’60s and early ’70s, it was Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics coach, followed by Holzman.
Red did not want to coach and protested vehemently against doing so. He, like the Knicks new hire Walt Perrin, was a front office scout. Before Willis Reed graduated from Grambling or Walt Frazier from Southern Illinois, Red drafted them. While coaching, he was still scouting the players he needed, such as the case with Dave DeBusschere in Detroit and Earl Monroe in Baltimore. Red was definitely the type of coach the Knicks need today.
The rankings will start with 15.