I first met Clyde on October 6, 1972 at Nassau Coliseum when the Knicks made their first visit to play the ABA’s New York Nets.
I was the head ball boy for the Nets, but I was also a New Yorker and the Knicks’ first championship in 1970 was still a very fresh memory. I was pretty comfortable around pro athletes by then, but when Clyde walked into the locker room, it was different.
He glided into the room. He had the aura of royalty. The fact that I was wearing a pair of Puma “Clydes” made it even better.
Clyde, wearing those trademark socks with a blue-and-orange stripe, scored 19 points and the Knicks won the game, 100-91. After the game, I asked Clyde for those socks.
He told me I had to ask trainer Danny Whelan, which I did. I wore those socks every time I played basketball until the elastic wore out.
In the years since then, I read his book, Rockin’ Steady, and learned how to catch flies with my bare hand. I learned that eating right could help you last a long time and look great, and that his rhyming had a purpose.
That’s what it is about Clyde. Everything he did had and has a purpose.
There is a lesson there. If you do things like that or try to, you could turn out like Clyde. Imagine the awesomeness of that.