New Yorkers appreciated underdog Langston Galloway’s rise from undrafted to D-League to valued role player

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Let’s be honest, the recent past hasn’t been much fun for New York Knicks fans, who’ve watched their team sit out the postseason for three consecutive years, despite the presence of nine-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony and playing in the Eastern Conference. One Knicks supporter who’s helped keep spirits up in his own unique way is Shaun Bensol, the creator of the one-of-a-kind site ClydeSoFly.com (Twitter account @ClydeSoFly10). On the site, Bensol tracks and grades the game-night suits worn by flamboyant Knicks TV analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier, perhaps the league’s most garish dresser (non-Craig Sager Division).

Pelicans.com caught up with Bensol in a Q&A to gain more insights into the brief career of New Orleans free-agent pickup Langston Galloway, who spent the past two seasons with the Knicks.

Q: Going back to when Galloway debuted in the NBA in the middle of the 2014-15 season, what did you know about him as a player? How surprised were Knicks fans by his emergence, which came seemingly out of nowhere?

A: Are you really going to make me reminisce about the 2014-2015 season? That season is something all Knicks fans would like to forget. The Knicks were in full-on tank mode and finished with the worst record in franchise history. The biggest highlight of the season (for me at least) was the final home game. That night the Knicks gave out unlimited free food from every vendor as an apology for their horrible season. Needless to say it was the most fun I had at the Garden all year. That free food night was a glorious event – maybe one of the top 10 nights of my life, but I digress.

Between Melo’s injury and Phil Jackson dumping J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, the Knicks needed all the help they could get. In a perfect storm of unfortunate events, Galloway was called up from the D-League and given a true chance to shine. I didn’t know much about him besides the little I saw in the summer league and what I read about him in the D-League. I don’t think anyone’s expectations were too high, but we were all pleasantly surprised.

Q: It seemed like Galloway was fairly popular among the enormous Knicks fans base. What were some of the reasons behind that affinity for the reserve guard?

A: New York loves an underdog. Whether it’s John Starks, Anthony Mason, or even Jeremy Lin – Knicks fans appreciate a player who claws their way to the top. Langston Galloway is one of the good guys in the NBA and it’s easy to fall in love with a guy who works hard and stays humble. Gallo went from undrafted, to the D-League, to making the All-Rookie second team. Don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you, he is all heart and hustle once he hits the floor. New York loves this type of player and he quickly became a fan favorite.

It wasn’t too long ago that saying the name “Gallo” in New York meant you were talking about Danilo Gallinari. Now, there is absolutely no doubt that Langston Galloway is the one true “Gallo.” The fan base was definitely disappointed when we didn’t re-sign him, but we wish him all the best in New Orleans. He will be missed.

Q: New Orleans ranked No. 28 in defensive efficiency in 2015-16, per NBA.com, and has finished in the bottom 10 for four consecutive years. What is your assessment of the type of defense Galloway plays?

A: Honestly, the Knicks haven’t really played defense in over a decade now – so we tend to love any player who puts forth even a minimal amount of defensive effort. Gallo is a tenacious defender who fights through screens and never gives up on the play. He’s not the tallest guard in the league at 6-2, but his 6-8 wingspan makes him a crafty shot blocker. His hustle and determination usually put him in a good position to come away with one or two steals per game. All you really need to know is last season the Knicks posted their best defensive rating when Gallo was on the floor and their worst defensive rating when he was on the bench.

Q: From what you’ve seen, what are some areas where he still can progress as a player as he heads into his prime?

A: Gallo seems to get better every year and he quickly evolved into a dependable presence off the bench. He’s at his best when he penetrates or gets a good look at a three. He can play both guard positions, but as of right now he’s probably better suited at the 2. He will most likely never mature into a superstar, but that’s OK. Gallo is the type of glue guy that every team needs. He's a rock-solid guard off the bench that you can rely on to play exceptional defense and knock down an open three. With that said, Gallo is more than just a 3-and-D player – he is fearless and doesn’t shy away from taking the big shot in a clutch situation. He’s an underrated dunker and will definitely surprise you with his athleticism. Gallo had a couple of emphatic putback dunks during his rookie year (one of them against your Pelicans), which were some of the best moments of that abysmal 17-win season.

Q: What’s one thing the average basketball fan might not know about Galloway?

A:  Langston Galloway and (Knicks Hall of Famer, legend and current TV broadcaster) Walt “Clyde” Frazier have something in common – they both have a fondness for the number 10. Gallo wore the number 10 throughout his four-year collegiate career at St. Joseph’s. Unfortunately for him, the Knicks retired the number 10 back in 1979 to honor the great Frazier. Since 10 was unavailable, the precocious neophyte was forced to choose a new number after serendipitously being called up to the big-league squad. Gallo wore the number 2 while on the Knicks, but signing with New Orleans means he can now reclaim his original number 10.

On a personal level, Gallo enjoys playing video games and he isn’t afraid to let you know when his NBA 2K player rating rises. He also has a pretty entertaining snapchat account that offers a behind-the-scenes look into his life. Gallo is a gym rat, so it’s no surprise that most of his snaps show off his relentless work ethic. One of his most recent and more glamorous snaps came from inside the famous Hollywood mansion of NBA fan legend and style icon James F. Goldstein. He’s definitely worth a follow.

Q: He played in every single game for the Knicks over the past season-plus, 127 total. How valuable was his durability and reliability for New York?

A: Gallo settled into being more of a role player last season, but his star really shined during that horrendous 2014-2015 season. He was one of the few bright spots for the worst Knicks team of all time. While Phil was trying to “lose more for Okafor,” Gallo found himself with a great opportunity and put up some impressive numbers when he was catapulted into the starting lineup. There were only two reasons to even watch those late-season Knick games 1) To see what fly ensemble “The Living Legend” Clyde Frazier was styling and profiling that night and 2) Langston Galloway. Most fans were rooting for the Knicks to lose those games, but Gallo usually gave us a few reasons to cheer.

Q: Given your Twitter account’s subject matter, we'd be completely remiss – negligent, even – if we didn’t ask at least one style question. We can’t really ask about Galloway’s fashion sense, because he never was in street clothes during his consecutive-games streak. So, what’s your favorite Clyde Frazier game-night outfit of all time?

A: Any conversation about Clyde’s best suit starts and ends with his world famous Cow Suit. Clyde’s cow-patterned suit is so iconic that it was deemed worthy of its very own bobblehead. This bovine ensemble is what inspired me to start the blog ClydeSoFly.com, where I capture and grade every suit the Living Legend unleashes on us mere fashion mortals.

Clyde has been percolating with even more splendiferous stylings since the debut of the original cow suit. My two most recent favorites are the “Red Cow,” which is exactly what it sounds like, and a brand-new suit that I've dubbed “The Zoo” since it features almost every animal pattern in the jungle. 

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