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As far as the current New York Knicks are concerned, you could say that Walt `Clyde' Frazier is the keeper of the flame, and he is one of the guys who lit it up to begin with. The two championship seasons, (1969-1970 and 1972-1973), are beginning to fade into the mist, but to Mr. Frazier they seem like yesterday. He admits in this book to having flashbacks, where he imagines himself to be on the court at Madison Square Garden, with the chant of Deee-fense ringing in his ears. Known since 1989 as an announcer for the Knicks, Mr. Frazier has a reputation for not holding anything back. He is not what you would call a corporate suck-up. Criticisms are just as likely to be aimed at the Knicks as their opponents. It is never meant in a mean-spirited sort of way, because he will then turn around and get enthusiastic over the next positive development. But the key word here is cool, (or level-headed if you will). Clyde does not believe in going too far in either direction.
What he provides here is an updated version of the World According to Walt Frazier. Published in 2007, (at one of the low points for the New York Knicks franchise), Mr. Frazier must have felt compelled to say something about what he perceived as slippage in the NBA universe. Not that he has lost any love for the game, (nothing could be further from the truth). It is the way the game is executed that bothers him. He is quick to point out that the problem is not with the high salaries. He is right in saying that much of the invective on that subject is based on race. He makes the point that people don't question whether Donald Trump or the Rolling Stones are justified in hauling in the big dough, so why should basketball players suffer denigration for the same thing?
Where Clyde does lower the boom is on the style of play that currently passes itself off as professional. According to him there are too many specialists. In the "old school" a player had to know how to do everything, including the most important part, play defense. They were also expected to be team oriented, and to pass the ball, and to find the open man. Success in preparation is also important. In fact, many of the ideas in this book could be applied to life in general, (which Mr. Frazier points out).
The best part, (at least to a baby boomer such as myself), is Clyde's reminiscences of the good old days; the time of Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave Debusschere, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Earl `The Pearl' Monroe and John Havlicek, (among others). But Clyde doesn't simply offer anecdotes here, he goes into detail about the mechanics of good basketball, using the greats as examples. For New York Knick fans the glory days are all we have. If only Walt Frazier could transplant the fire in his belly to the younger generation of New York players. Clyde mentioned the fact that only three Knicks have ever asked him for advice. Imagine that, having all that wisdom in the house every night, and not taking advantage of it. I guess you could say that the television and radio audience, (and now the book-reading public), has the advantage here, as many of us are more than willing to take up the slack in that department. To me, it will be a sad day when Clyde signs off the microphone for the last time. I hope he stays on the job for decades more, and I hope he eventually has some good news to report from the floor of the New York Knicks exchange, because the way things have been, consumer confidence is waning. But don't be shy about getting this book. It will pay dividends on the big board of life, (where it counts).