Growing Up In The Garden

I have had the honor of calling Rangers games on the radio since October 1995, and select Knicks games on the TV side over the past seven seasons. Having “grown up” in Madison Square Garden, broadcasting games for MSG Networks in The World’s Most Famous Arena never gets old.

There is still such a special feeling every time I walk into the building. I have worked games in every NHL arena in North America and almost every NBA building, and I can honestly say – especially since the Transformation – that while some come close, The Garden is the most spectacular of them all.

It has been an absolute delight to work with my Rangers analyst Dave Maloney over the last 11 seasons. As many of you can remember, Dave was a fan-favorite (especially amongst teenaged girls) during his tenure as a defenseman with the Blueshirts. He was named the youngest captain in franchise history, and helped lead the team to the 1979 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens.

Dave wore his heart on his sleeve during his 605-game career with the Rangers (plus another 48 in the postseason). He brings his colorful personality to the radio broadcasts, especially when he does not agree with a call by the on-ice officials.

Dave’s first game as the full-time Rangers radio color analyst was in Philadelphia on October 5, 2005 – also the first time Henrik Lundqvist wore the Blueshirt sweater in a regular season game (he backed-up Kevin Weekes in the 5-3 win over the Flyers). I often joke with Dave that is it not a coincidence that the Rangers have made it to the postseason in nine of his first 10 seasons as color analyst (following a seven-year drought). The Maloney Magic carries on.

Is there a name and face more synonymous with Knicks basketball than Walt “Clyde” Frazier? Whenever I keep Mike Breen‘s seat warm on Knicks telecasts, I have the great fortune of working with a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. 

Clyde is the self-proclaimed “Greatest Knick of All-Time” (he lists Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing as numbers two and three, in no particular order). Although Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals on May 8, 1970 is often referred to as the “Willis Reed Game,” Clyde led the Knicks to their first World Championship with one of the greatest performances in NBA history: 36 points, 19 assists, 7 rebounds.

As anyone who has tuned into even one Knick telecast can attest, Clyde wheels and deals, and swishes and dishes, much to the delight of both rabid basketball fans and novices.  I can honestly say I have never been around a superstar athlete who is as nice to the fans as Clyde. He never turns down an autograph or photo request, and always enjoys hearing the accolades thrown his way by Knick fans young and old.

As the Rangers and Knicks embark on the final two months of their regular seasons, I look forward to continuing to not only calling their games on radio and television, but will help spin more tales from the booth on as well.