First off we better get this out of the way: yes, the New York Knicks had a basketball team before Jeremy Lin came on the scene, and yes, they were good (I can’t believe I even wrote that sentence). In fact, in the early 1970s the Knicks weren’t just the toast of Gotham – they were the talk of the whole league. Veteran writer Harvey Araton’s When The Garden Was Eden beautifully paints the portrait that was the Knicks of this bygone era.
These Knicks teams that made Madison Square Garden Eden made it to three Finals from 1970 to 1973 and won two of them. Many considered them the best “team” they ever saw. Now while the term “team” normally brings up images of boring teams lacking personality, that certainly wasn’t the case with these Knicks. Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Jerry Lucas, Phil Jackson, and Willis Reed ensured that this team was chock full of style, quirkiness, toughness and personality. Araton does a wonderful job of really letting the reader get to know these players, and doesn’t fall into the trap that many basketball books fall into - mindnumbing play-by-play of each game. While there is plenty of on-the-court description and insight, it is the backstories of its participants that is the most revealing and entertaining.
Grab a copy of the book here: