1-on-1 with Walt "Clyde" Frazier

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Jonah Ballow
Knicks.com

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KNICKS GREATEST RIVALRIES: BULLS
LINK: ATMOSPHERE
LINK: ORIGINS
VIDEO: MSG Network's Knicks-Bulls Rivalry

Jonah Ballow:
We have a special feature for you as we breakdown the greatest rivalries in Knicks history and who better to bring on, the legend, Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Thanks so much for joining us today and let’s take a look at the first installment of the greatest rivalries, the Chicago Bulls in the 90s. Take us in a general thought process of the Knicks and Bulls and what that meant to this franchise in the 90s.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
It was very rejuvenating, playing against Michael Jordan and one of the greatest teams ever back in the 90s. Patrick Ewing, [Charles] Oakley, [John] Starks, I have very profound memories of that series. I was doing radio with Mike Breen and we thought we were the luckiest guys in the world to be covering this type of basketball and getting paid to do it, so it was dynamic. I loved the Chicago Stadium, there were no acoustics there, the Luvabulls, Benny The Bull, when you were there it was just pandemonium. Of course Jordan put on a show so many times, precious shots to the 90s Knicks. I thought [Pat] Riley, and Ewing brought a lot of enjoyment to the Knicks fans.

Jonah Ballow:
Talk about that matchup a little bit. Michael Jordan – there is really no way to guard him, right? There is no scout that helps stop the guy but the Knicks did a pretty good job of that through the 90s. They really put him through the physical mill and tested him throughout that series.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
We’ll with most superstars, you try to contain them and the Knicks would contain him to the last shot but like most teams, they could not deny him. He always came up with the basket or he found that open man – he was the dominant player of that era. He won so many championships, so it was frustrating to be right on the threshold of winning and this guy comes and snatches it from you. Many Knicks fans have profound memories of that but also very frustrating ones as well.

Jonah Ballow:
Isn’t it interesting that Jordan and Ewing met in the college national championship and then they rekindled that rivalry in the NBA. Those two guys got along in the Olympics – playing together in 92’ but the Knicks and Bulls and Jordan and Ewing, those were really the two iconic members of both teams.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
Yeah, there is always a lot of respect there between star players. Ewing respected Jordan for what he had done and vice versa. Now they come to the NBA and take it to another level and gain more fame and notoriety. I thought Patrick Ewing was extraordinary because when we got him from Georgetown, we thought we were getting Bill Russell. You know, he was the dominant defensive guy – shot blocker-rebounder and now he comes to the NBA and becomes a prolific scorer. Actually, he is the best scorer in Knicks history and I thought that was a testament to Patrick. His work ethic was uncanny, always hustling and developing a mid-range game. He still hand that tenacity on the defensive end, he was a very formidable player.

Jonah Ballow:
When the Bulls stepped into New York City – The Garden with Jordan, who called it The Mecca of Basketball, what was the atmosphere like there? Take us back and tell us how the Knicks fans reacted to the Bulls, that series, and that heightened intensity.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
We’ll when Jordan used to come to town that emphasized that basketball is a business,” MSG Network color analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier said to NYKnicks.com. “Most of the fans were there early, if I’m on the elevator at The Garden, you can’t get an elevator because all the suites are full – people were going up and down with food. Every celebrity in town was sitting there, so you understand the magnitude, a guy like Jordan, its worth millions and millions of dollars to a team. The fans and all the kids are in there seats 45 minutes before the game. When these guys come, they are there early, standing up during the warm-ups, just really enjoying the grandeur of these types of players.

Jonah Ballow:
How physical was that series?

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
We’ll they [Bulls] weren’t a physical team, they were more finesse. They had [Bill] Cartright but he wasn’t physical, Jordan wasn’t physical, nor was [Scottie] Pippen but they were elusive. Jordan was wiry strong type of guy, gets his rebounds. B.J. Armstrong, a guy that really can’t handle the ball but a lethal shooter and you couldn’t leave him uncontested, so he came up with numerous big shots. Michael was the catalyst, sometimes I would watch him in the warm-up and you could never tell what he was thinking. Sometimes, he was just milling around, sometimes he comes out and just wants to get his teammates involved. But whenever he came to The Garden, you could see he was trying to get a double nickel from the get-go. Every time he got the ball, he was looking to score on the Knicks and he eluded to the fact that playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena galvanized him. He wanted to put on a good show and most of the time he did.

Jonah Ballow:
Your favorite memory of that rivalry, Bulls-Knicks in the 90s?

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
We’ll I guess Starks’ dunk was a big one, the futility of Charles Smith that time under the basket and couldn’t finish. Some of Jordan’s dunks over Ewing, just the excitement of that entire series. The fight in Chicago, you never knew what to expect and it kept you on pins and needles. It was such a provocative series.

Jonah Ballow:
Great stuff. We’ll there he is, Walt “Clyde” Frazier with insight on the Knicks and Bulls. Of course, MSG Network is going to have all of the coverage of Knicks-Bulls, you can see complete games on the Network. I can’t wait to watch it.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier:
And…that’s no bull.

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