Spike Lee: My Favorite Knick

THE GAME

I’m very fortunate that I have been able to meet and become friends with my childhood heroes: Willie Mays, Muhammed Ali, Joe Namath and Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Walt “Clyde” Frazier was my favorite Knickerbocker.

I loved all those guys: Willis Reed, Earl the Pearl, Dick Barnett, DeBusschere, Dollar Bill Bradley, but Clyde was my guy. He was smooth. He was stylish. I used to like how he would steal the ball; he would just take it.

Like Clyde, in Bonnie and Clyde. And he always wore number 10.

I identified with him because we were both born in in Atlanta, Georgia. I used to have the Puma Clyde sneakers – I loved the red suede ones – and remember how the red dye used to rub off on my tube socks.

I was at his greatest game: Game 7, May 8, 1970, Madison Square Garden. The whole thing was electric – I will always remember that night.

It was the Knicks against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Clyde had 36 points, 19 assists, 7 rebounds. People remember Willis Reed coming out onto the court, so sometimes Clyde’s big game gets overlooked.

THE RIVAL

I remember the game with Phil Chenier. Everyone remembers that.

Phil Chenier played on the Baltimore Bullets and was a very good guard. He did something to Clyde – I think he elbowed him, it’s foggy – but it was a physical act. Clyde didn’t do anything, didn’t say anything, but torched him after that.

Torched him.

You ask anybody my age, they all remember that game. He ate him up alive. He completely dominated him. Any father who was sitting watching the game with his son – as my father did – said, “that’s how you do it.”

You don’t have to retaliate by hitting somebody, just get them back on the court. You don’t have curse him out, you don’t have to yell at him, you don’t have to be abusive physically — just get him back by dominating on the court. Get him back by being successful.

THE SUITS

Clyde has his own style and I love it, love it, love it. When I walk into The Garden, that’s one of the first things I check out. What’s Clyde wearing tonight? What’s that? A cow hide? He’s been rocking that lately.

[Bracket: What is Clyde’s Best Outfit?]

THE ICON/THE LEGEND

Clyde is stylish, is intelligent and I love his alliterations – inconsistent, incoherent and there’s one more “in.” He’s got all those sayings: Stylin’ and profilin’; spinnin’ and winnin’.

He’s a great athlete and he was the star of one of the most beloved New York sports teams ever. You can say that 1969-70 team is the most beloved sports team ever in New York.

He’s also a great human being on-and-off the court. It’s always a sunny day with him – he’s like Ernie Banks – it’s all good. He’ll always take a picture with somebody, always sign an autograph, no matter what.

Clyde does it all with a smile.