Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"When The Garden Was Eden"

This film, first presented on ESPN tonight, should be a special one for anyone who has ever been a New York Knicks fan, attended events at Madison Square Garden, loved basketball, been a real New Yorker, or just likes history in general.  All of those describe this writer.

The film tells the story of the Knicks in the late 1960's and early 1970's when they were making NBA basketball a major sport and won NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.  With a lineup of talented characters who became consummate team players, they were in the spotlight on and off the court in a way that had never been seen before in professional basketball.  Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere, Phil Jackson, Dick Barnett, Cassie Russell, a little known Dean Meminger, and the transferred Jerry Lucas all played for the Knicks during this period.  Coached by another character, Red Holzman, they played tough defense and seemed to let the offense take care of itself.

The interviews with some of the players today, the clips of some the games, and the commentary on the social upheaval in New York City at that time all made for an entertaining and informative film, an exciting film about what can happen when a team and a town come together.  There were many notable quotes from the former players, and my favorite one was Walt Frazier talking about playing defense against Earl the Pearl Monroe when Monroe was still with the Baltimore Bullets.  He said, "It was impossible to guard Monroe.  I had no idea what he was going to do and he didn't either." I was lucky to spot this show tonight, and am sure that it will be repeated numerous times in the coming weeks and months for those who missed it.    


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