Legends Night a "Family Reunion" 40 Years in the Making
Mike Breen introduces members of the 1970 NBA champion New York Knicks.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier addresses the crowd on behalf of his 1969-70 Knick teammates.
Al Trautwig introduces the opening video for Knicks Legends Night.
President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh made good on his promise to keep honoring the franchise's storied past, deciding to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1969-70 World Champion Knicks for the Second Annual Knicks Legends Night.
"I think it is important to honor the past, especially when you have such a storied past like the Knicks have," he said hours before the festivities got under way. "To see the players that have come back tonight and see them interact with each other, it is a very special thing."
When the halftime buzzer rang during the Knicks - Bucks game, signaling the beginning of the ceremony, the lights dimmed and a palpable energy buzzed through the sold out Garden in anticipation of some of the greatest heroes to ever hit the hardwood to once again grace the court. After a brief introduction, emcee Mike Breen read the names aloud with those in attendance emerging from behind the scenes on to centercourt.
With each name, the crowd grew louder and louder.
By the time Breen got to the starting lineup, The Garden had whipped itself into a frenzy, eager to see the men whose numbers all hang from the rafters in the flesh.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
And of course, "The Captain" Willis Reed.
With the players in attendance standing arm in arm, many of them with misty eyes, Frazier stepped forward to address the crowd, who immediately fell silent, hanging on his every word.
"Tonight is like a family reunion," he proudly declared. "The memories abound and we're just happy to be here and carry on the legacy of New York and a championship tradition."
Legends Night Recap
Photo Gallery: Legends Night Ceremony
Bond of 1969-70 Knicks Runs Deep
Reed Still "The Captain"
"You hear about those guys and what they accomplished," said the recently acquired Bill Walker. "You look up in the rafters and see their numbers and realize what they have accomplished. And now I get to wear that same jersey and have the 'New York' across my chest. To follow in their footsteps, it is an honor."
Growing up in Italy, Danilo Gallinari had heard the names Reed and Frazier and so on.
"I was obviously too young to ever have seen them on TV, but any fan of the game no matter where you are from knows those guys names," he said, "When I came to New York I watched them on tape and they were a great team. They were the first ones to win it. That is unique. That is unbelievable. They are what I hope we can accomplish here someday soon."
Gallinari also had the chance to talk with the legends, and he soaked in every word they had to say.
"I spoke with Willis, and he told me to keep working and keep practicing," he said with a smile, reflecting upon the words the greatest captain in team history had to say to him. "He said he is a fan and that he thinks we can do great things here. It was unbelievable to hear that."
Stay tuned to nyknicks.com all week long for special coverage of Knicks Legends Night and the magical 1969-70 New York Knicks.