Top Ten New York Knicks of All-Time



Training camp is upon us, but we’re still living in the past at The Hoops Manifesto.  We’ve gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises.  Next up: the New York Knicks.

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf from the TWolves Blog; Don from With Malice, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, Diego from Leaving It All On The Court and LIVES from Knicks Fanatics.

10) Bill Bradley – New York Knicks – 1967 – 1977


Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (24) retired by the Knicks
– member of two Knicks NBA championship team
– NBA leader in games played in 1972/73 & 1973/74
– one-time NBA All-Star

“Nicknamed “Dollar Bill” for once being the highest-paid Knick ever, this Ivy Leaguer, Rhodes Scholar, Hall of Famer spent his entire career with the Knicks playing in eight consecutive playoff s and two NBA championships.” – LIVES

9) Allan Houston – New York Knicks – 1996 – 2005

Knicks accomplishments:

– NBA leader in games played in 1997/98 & 1998/99
– NBA leader in free throw % in 2002/03
– two-time NBA All-Star

“The sweet-shooting Houston provided the finesse to the rough and tumble Knicks of the 1990s.” – Jeff Fox

8) Harry Gallatin – New York Knicks – 1948 – 1957

Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– NBA leader in games played in 1951/51 & 1956/57
– NBA leader in total rebounds in 1953/54
– NBA leader in rebounds per game in 1953/54
– seven-time NBA All-Star
– two-time All-NBA selection

“Known as “Henry the Horse” and “Farmer Gallatin” he played in 610 consecutive games and 57 postseason contests during his nine years as a Knick.  A 6’6” center, he was known for his tenacity and was an excellent rebounder.  Also the Knicks first draft choice ever when the they were part of the BAA.” – LIVES

7) Charles Oakley – New York Knicks – 1988 – 1998


Knicks accomplishments:

– Knicks all-time leader in offensive rebounds
– ninth all-time in offensive rebounds in NBA history
– NBA leader in games played in 1988/89 & 1993/94
– one-time NBA All-Star
– two-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“One of the greatest enforcers in Knicks history, he teamed with Ewing to form the toughest frontcourt in the NBA at the time.  During his ten years with the Knicks, they never missed the playoffs.” – LIVES

“The perfect complement to Patrick Ewing, Oakley was a nightly double-double threat from the power forward position. His play may not have always been aesthetically pleasing, but he got the job done.” – Diego Quezada 

“When I think of the dominant Knicks teams of the 1990s, Charles Oakley is the man I think of, not Patrick Ewing or John Starks.” – Jeff Fox

6) Bernard King – New York Knicks – 1982 – 1985, 1986 – 1987

Knicks accomplishments:

– NBA leader in points per game in 1984/85
– two-time NBA All-Star
– two-time All-NBA selection

“He doesn’t have the record nor the longevity of some of the other selections, but during his almost four seasons with the Knicks his shooting pyrotechnics kept Knick fandom engaged as he was a two time All-Star (1984 and 1985) and led the league in scoring. His shot was butter and his injury robbed us of a union with Patrick Ewing.” – LIVES

“One of the greatest scorers to pick up a basketball, King spent five electrifying seasons in New York. While wearing a Knicks jersey, King became the first player to score 50 points on two consecutive games and the tenth player to score 60.” – Diego Quezada 

5) Dave DeBusschere – New York Knicks – 1968 – 1974

Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (22) retired by the Knicks
– member of two Knicks NBA championship teams
– five-time NBA All-Star
– one-time All-NBA selection
– six-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“One of the greatest defenders in NBA history, he was nicknamed “The Hammer” which reflected a work ethic that made him a five-time All-Star and six-time All-Defense first teamer.  One of the 50 greatest ballers in NBA history, the Knicks never missed a playoff series with him on the team and won two NBA Championships.  And he was a helluva pitching prospect for a team – the Chicago White Sox – that played a couple of miles from where I grew up.” – LIVES

“One of the primary reasons the ’70/’73 Knicks got their titles, DeBusschere was a fearsome rebounder, one of the best players in the 4-slot for his entire generation.  Just a physical beast – a nightmare to match up on.  A fair baseballer too – he once pitched a shutout for the Chicago White Sox (one of only 12 players to play both NBA/MLB).” – Don

4) Earl Monroe – New York Knicks – 1971 – 1980

Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (15) retired by the Knicks
– member of 1973 Knicks NBA championship team
– two-time NBA All-Star

““Black Jesus” or Earl “The Pearl” Monroe was a star when he came to the Knicks and sublimated his creative game for the sake of the team he played for for nine seasons, which included 57 post-season games, including the 1973 Championship.” – LIVES

“One of the more flamboyant players the NBA has seen, Monroe was nonetheless a great player. After questions of chemistry arose, he and Frazier formed one of the best backcourts in history.” – Diego Quezada 

“Earl the Pearl Monroe.  Part of the “Rolls Royce Backcourt”.  Amazing skills, he seemingly had the ball on a string.  Also known as “Black Jesus”, his ability was sheer poetry in motion.  He once said of his own game “You know, I watch the games and even now I never see anyone who reminds me of me, the way I played.”  That may read as somewhat egotistical, but just go look at some game-film.  You’ll get it.” – Don

3) Walt Frazier – New York Knicks – 1967 – 1977


Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (10) retired by the Knicks
– member of two Knicks NBA championship teams
– Knicks all-time assists leader
– seven-time NBA All-Star
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– seven-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
– six-time All-NBA selection

“Clyde personified cool on and off the court.  The orchestrator of two NBA Championship teams, Frazier, a seven-time all-star, played in 93 post-season contests during his career as a Knick.   He is Mr. Knick and although he was from Illinois he is New York thru and thru.” – LIVES

“The invaluable point guard on the Knicks’ two championship teams, Frazier could score and make plays at will. Players who enjoy stealing owe a great deal to Frazier; it was he who popularized the defensive skill.” – Diego Quezada 

“Now, if one player could embody the New York state of mind, it would Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Frazier was always a flamboyant personality on the team – whether it was the way he dressed and carried himself or the way he played on the floor. Frazier really broke out in the Knicks two title seasons in 1970 and 1973 as his averages, especially assists, were some of the best of his career.” – Philip

“The other half of the “Rolls Royce Backcourt”, when Clyde retired, nearly every record for the Knicks was his.  Points, games, minutes, FGA, FGM, FTA, FTM, and assists.  Clyde was really the first player to make steals into an actual ‘skill’.  Possessing phenomenal court vision, Frazier would often appear to not be paying attention.  This was never true, yet worked time and time again.” – Don

2) Willis Reed – New York Knicks – 1964 – 1974

Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (19) retired by the Knicks
– member of two Knicks NBA championship teams
– NBA leader in games played in 1964/65
– two-time NBA Finals MVP
– one-time NBA MVP
– seven-time NBA All-Star
– NBA Rookie of the Year
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– five-time All-NBA selection
– one-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

““The Captain” hailed from a great program at the storied Grambling from which he brought his dignity and a work ethic and intensity that makes him one of the favorite Knicks ever.  His two championships only punctuated a career in which he faced great centers when the NBA had great centers.” – LIVES

“The finals MVP on both of New York’s championship teams, Reed was an effective player who could play both center and power forward. One of the few players who can make an impact just by showing up, Reed’s famous appearance at the start of Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals provided inspiration to the Knicks that no other player could emulate.” – Diego Quezada 

1) Patrick Ewing – New York Knicks – 1985 – 2000

Knicks accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (33) retired by the Knicks
– Knicks all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), free throws (made & attempted), defensive & total rebounds, steals, blocks & points
– seventh all-time in defensive rebounds in NBA history
– sixth all-time in blocks in NBA history
– NBA leader in games played in 1989/90
– NBA leader in defensive rebounds in 1992/93
– 11-time NBA All-Star
– NBA Rookie of the Year
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
– seven-time All-NBA selection

“He defined what a Knick was and should be for 15 seasons, reflecting both the old school work ethic and a respect for the city which he gave 13 straight playoff seasons.  Willis Reed says Patrick was a greater Knick than him.  Frazier picked Reed over Ewing.  What a dilemma.” – LIVES

“One of the best centers of all time, Patrick Ewing would have dominated the League for a decade or so if it wasn’t for Michael Jordan. Very seldom has a player combined defense and low-post scoring to the level he did. Unfortunately, Ewing fell victim to a ton of heartbreak during his 15 seasons in New York.” – Diego Quezada 

“Many consider Willis Reed the top ever Knickerbocker, due to Ewing never having won a title… but I’m not going to penalise a guy due to the presence of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.  If Reed was a warrior, Ewing was just as much so.  A great player on a very good team, Ewing took his Knicks so close – but the presence of Jordan and ultimately The Dream were just more than New York could overcome.” – Don

Previous franchises done: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Clippers, Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans.

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.