Ranking the greatest New York Knicks of all time
The New York Knicks are enjoying a resurgent 2020-21 season, boasting a winning record in March for the first time in nearly a decade. As new and old fans alike celebrate their success, it brings back fond memories of days gone by in the Big Apple.
Although this year's roster may not have any future Hall of Famers, Madison Square Garden has historically been home to some of the most dominant players in the NBA. Join us now as we turn the spotlight on the top five greatest New York Knicks of all time.
5. Carmelo Anthony
Position: Small Forward
Accolades: 10x NBA All-Star, 6x All-NBA, 2012-13 NBA scoring champion
Carmelo Anthony won a national championship as a freshman playing in Syracuse, and after beginning his career with the Denver Nuggets, he traveled back to New York to join the Knicks in hopes of bringing glory back to the storied franchise.
A championship didn’t follow, but Anthony added to his legacy as one of the greatest scorers of all time. The 10-time All-Star averaged nearly 25 points per game during his seven years in New York, and guided the Knicks to the playoffs three straight times after a six-year drought.
4. Bernard King
Position: Small Forward
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 4x NBA All-Star, 4x All-NBA, 1984-85 NBA scoring champion
In the 1984-85 season, Bernard King led the NBA in scoring with an incredible 32.9 points per game. For his career, he averaged 22.5, and during his prime he was capable of scoring 40+ every single night, including back-to-back 50-point nights during that 1984-85 season.
King suffered devastating knee injuries during the prime of his career, but when he was healthy he was one of the best bucket-getters of his generation.
3. Willis Reed
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 7x NBA All-Star, 5x All-NBA, NBA MVP, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 2x NBA champion
The Knicks have two NBA titles in franchise history, and Willis Reed played a fundamental role on both squads as the captain and NBA Finals MVP on the 1969 and 1973 championship teams.
After 3 titles with Grambling University, Willis Reed was drafted by the Knicks. He played his entire career in NY and over its course won 2 championships and was named MVP of the regular season, NBA Finals and All-Star game; the first to ever win all three in one season. #BHM pic.twitter.com/ANbJ6NETLJ— NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2021
Reed averaged a double-double in points and rebounds for his career, and was named a top-50 NBA player of all time. During the 1969 season, in which he won the NBA MVP award, Reed averaged 21.7 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. Sadly, his career was cut short due to knee injury, but there is no doubt it was still as fruitful as any player in franchise history.
2. Walt Frazier
Position: Point Guard
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 7x NBA All-Star, 6x All-NBA, 7x All-Defensive Team, 2x NBA champion
Walt Frazier is best known to younger fans as a flashy color commentator on MSG broadcasts, but make no mistake about it, the seven-time All-Star is the ultimate Knick.
A stout defender who was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team seven times, Frazier also averaged two steals per game and was the unquestioned on-court leader of New York's two championship teams. Frazier did everything you could want from an elite point guard, and so much more.
1. Patrick Ewing
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 11x NBA All-Star, 7x All-NBA, 3x All-Defensive Team
Patrick Ewing embodied the toughness that New Yorkers have always taken pride in. He was a 7-foot monster of a center, who was dominant on offense, and a fearsome presence on defense. The 11-time All-Star was the central figure of the best Knicks teams of the modern era, and may have won a title or two had he not played at the same time as Michael Jordan.
He had a cerebral understanding of the game and combined it with freakish strength and athleticism to power past lesser opponents. Not only is Ewing one of the best centers in NBA history, but he is also the greatest Knick of all time.