Walt Frazier Rumors
Put another way: There is the James Dolan who feuds with former Knicks stars and rankles celebrity fans. There is the Dolan who runs through executives and coaches like Spinal Tap drummers and puts tremendous on his employees. There is also the Dolan who pursued music on his own, who grew up on the touchstones — Eric Clapton, the Dead, Duane Allman — and reminisces about his first guitar, a used Gibson J-50, like Knicks fans remember Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dave DeBusschere. “That’s his rosebud,” McKenna told Shattered. Or, as Dolan once told Canadian journalist Peter Robb of the Ottawa Citizen in 2013, “I don’t shoot basketballs, I don’t shoot pucks, I don’t install cable in people’s homes. Music is a place that goes from my mind to my hands and into my voice direct out.”
You mentioned you were a Knicks fan growing up. Although it was before my time, I know those Knicks teams were great, with guys like Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Willis Reed among others. What did those teams mean to you, and did you have any opportunities to go to Madison Square Garden to see them play? Frank Fraschilla: Well, Walt “Clyde” Frazier just turned 76 and it seems like it was just yesterday that we were trying to buy Puma Clyde’s, when we could save the money. It was a big deal in New York back then when he signed with Puma. The Knicks probably shaped my love affair with basketball. I did go to a number of Knicks games when I was a kid. I’d go anytime my dad or my uncle could buy tickets. We would usually sit in the upper tiers of Madison Square Garden. Because I loved the game so much, I’d go to the park, in the playgrounds in New York City, and try to emulate my heroes: Clyde Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
There’s been a recent groundswell of support to change the logo’s silhouette from West to Bryant. Frazier, during MSG Network’s telecast of the Knicks’ 109-90 win over the Pistons, proposed a logo that would feature a bunch of greats, dating to the original big man, George Mikan. “First of all if you just use one guy you’re embarrassing a lot of other guys,” said Frazier, who led the Knicks to two NBA championships. “I would start with George Mikan. What about George Mikan? Without George Mikan these guys would not be around. What about Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell? They saved the league at that point. That brought us to the 70s.
“The Knicks and Lakers were there but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dr. J [Julius Erving] came in and then [Michael] Jordan. So those are the players that made this game. Made it possible for Kobe and these guys. It should incorporate a way to use all these guys at one time to be the logo.”
When trade discussions began that spring, after the Bucks went 38-44, it was unclear where the Knicks stood in the running. There were several rumors at the time that involved Walt Frazier going to Milwaukee, though their legitimacy is uncertain. Albert says Frazier was unhappy in New York at that time. (The Knicks traded him two years later.) The only trade chip the Knicks definitely had was money. After the deal was done, Burke would say the team had offered more than $1.5 million and draft picks for Abdul-Jabbar. They had even made a trip to Milwaukee to negotiate in person. “Well, what is cash going to do for me?” Embry told the Los Angeles Times. “I sent Mike Burke and (GM) Eddie Donovan back to New York with their tails between the legs.”