Stormy weather and lightning couldn’t stop Walt Frazier’s shine. The lifetime Knicks front man collected two chips while playing in New York and has stuck around the city as the Knicks color guy on the MSG Network since 1997. It’s been 40 years since Frazier first came to New York City and he’s arguably as well known there now as the day he stopped playing there.
A Hall of Famer and listed among the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, Frazier’s jersey was retired in 1979. He made six consecutive All-Star appearances, was named to the NBA’s All-Second Team twice, and made the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team seven times. Frazier was an All-Star in six consecutive seasons, earning the MVP award in the 1975 game in Phoenix.
This week, Frazier reached out to Knicks fans during KIA’s NBA Tip-Off jam in Union Square, celebrating the start of the season. SLAM bumped into Frazier as he took shelter from some heavy rain in a tent.
SLAM: What about this season are you looking most forward to?
Walt “Clyde” Frazier: Winning and turning it around. I think this is the year.
SLAM: What has impressed you about Mike D’Antoni so far?
WF: He’s very reminiscent of Red Holzman, the great Knick coach that I played for. D’Antoni is very cool, calm and never shows a lot of emotion, which is very relaxing for the players. When things go awry and you come to the bench the coach is not yelling and screaming. He’s very confident in telling his players what they have to do to get back in the game.
SLAM: Do you feel like Knicks have the guys to play in the style of ball D’Antoni likes to play?
WF: It has to be done as a team and not on an individual basis. Jamal is a high scorer, Zach is a high scorer, Nate and all of these guys can score, but it’s got to be done within the team concept.
SLAM: What one player did you think stood out the most in this preseason?
WF: Chandler. Wilson Chandler is a very good player. I think he’s really stepped up a lot. It’s different from when he came in as a role player, now they’re expecting things of him. That’s going to put a little added pressure on.
SLAM: What did you mean when you said the 1970 Knicks were the “most intelligent” team you’d ever seen?
WF: (Chuckle) Because we played together and we scored when we had the opportunity. We knew that Bill Bradley was effective if we got him into pick-and-rolls and stuff like that. The same thing goes for Dick Barnett. So, Willis could have scored more, I could have scored more, but we would not have been as effective functioning as a team. I think the current Knicks in the same predicament right now.
SLAM: You played in a lot of good games at Madison Square Garden, what has been your favorite game to call as an announcer with the team?
WF: Well…I guess I’d have to say against the Bulls. When the Bulls and Knicks were going at it in the Playoffs. Even against the Heat, yeah man, that was crazy. I was like “How lucky could I be to be doing the broadcasts during these games.” Those were some great rivalries.
SLAM: Who’s your tailor? Where are you going for your clothes these days?
WF: I go to a guy named Wohan’s Custom Tailor on 42nd street. You see, I kind of design the fabrics and sometimes I bring my own fabrics but he does have some really good fabrics, so he does my suites and my shirts. And then I have a tie guy, who makes my ties and shoes I just find at random.
SLAM: What’s the favorite outfit you’re running with right now?
WF: I like the ones with vests. I like to wear three-piece suits and silk shirts and alligator shoes (hard laugh). I got some new stuff lined up for this season, some new gear for this year.
SLAM: Do you have a final thought on the Knicks before the season starts?
WF: I’m hoping for the Playoffs. We need something to build upon and something to instill in the fans to keep them excited. We need to give the players and the fans some confidence so it’s crucial that we make the Playoffs.