WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN

Jill Martin chats with actor and director Michael Rapaport about his documentary "When The Garden Was Eden."

FILM SUMMARY:
In the early 1970s, America was being torn apart by the war in Vietnam, with racial unrest in the streets and a distrust of the White House. But there was a happier place where men of different backgrounds showed people what could happen when you worked together: Madison Square Garden. “When The Garden Was Eden” (based on the book by Harvey Araton) explores the only championship years of the New York Knicks, when they made the NBA Finals in three out of four seasons, winning two titles. Stitched together by Red Holzman, the previously mediocre Knicks might have seemed an odd collection of characters: a forward from the rarefied air of Princeton (Bill Bradley), two players from the Jim Crow South (Willis Reed and Walt Frazier), a blue-collar guy from Detroit (Dave DeBusschere), a pair of inner-city guards (Earl Monroe and Dick Barnett), even a mountain man from Deer Lodge, Montana (Phil Jackson). But by embracing their differences and utilizing their strengths, they showed the NBA and the world what it was like to play as a team. That they did it on the stage New York City provided made it all that much sweeter. — ESPN FILMS “30 for 30”

DIRECTOR:
Michael Rapaport — IMDb

PREMIERE:
April 17, 2014 (Tribeca Films Festival)
October 21, 2014 (ESPN)

REVIEWS:
“But When the Garden Was Eden makes an excellent, if familiar, case for why this is a team the media won’t stop talking about 40-plus years later. The Frazier fashion montage alone may be worth your two hours, and if it’s not, the black-and-white footage of Reed single-handedly fighting the entire Lakers roster – and winning! – is. — HITFIX

When The Garden Was Eden is bursting at the seams with great retellings and anecdotes from a colorful group, most of which is wonderfully mixed with an impressive amount of footage and highlights given the limited availability of footage from that era. — AWFUL ANNOUNCING