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“The game hasn’t changed really, but the players have. You can see an evolution in physiology. Athletes today are bigger and stronger, and they can jump higher.”
What was your favorite memory from your playing days in the NBA?
“Game Seven of the 1973 Eastern Conferences Finals at the Boston Garden. I came in the game for Earl Monroe. No one had been able to stop Jo Jo White all game. I came in, shut him down, and we won the game. I was named co-MVP. We went on to win the NBA championship that year.”
What do you remember most about New York?
“There’s no place like New York. I have a great relationship with the city and the Knicks.”
Was it harder playing for or against the Knicks?
“Against. It was very difficult after I left the team, and also when I came back. When I returned to the Knicks, it was a whole new team.”
Who was the hardest player you ever had to defend? Defended you?
“There were so many good players I had to defend. I would say the hardest were Ed Archibald, Jerry West, and Pistol Pete [Maravich]. Walt Frazier was the hardest player I ever had to defend. We used to play one-on-one at one of the local YMCA’s and he always gave me problems.”
What does Black History Month mean to you?
“I think of it as Black History Year. It represents the legacy of my ancestors.”
Who are some of your heroes?
“Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa.”
What advice would you give to today’s youth?
“Think big and visualize your dreams. It’s better to try hard and not meet your dreams than to have no dreams to follow.”