Walt “Clyde” Frazier was at a book signing about 10 years ago when a fan introduced himself with a most unusual greeting.
“Thirty-six points, 19 assists, seven rebounds,’’ said the fan.
Frazier was stunned.
“You remember that?’’ said one of the greatest Knicks of all-time.
That’s one of the beauties of sports – they create memories for a lifetime.
The Knicks’ 1970 NBA title was known for Willis Reed limping on to The Garden court and sparking a 113-99 Game 7 win over the L.A. Lakers. But it was Frazier who put the team on his back that night.
Frazier turned in arguably the greatest Game 7 performance in any sport – 36 points, 19, assists and seven rebounds. The NBA didn’t count steals as a stat or Frazier’s line would have been even more preposterous.
Saturday marked the 50-year anniversary of Frazier’s debut with the Knicks. And one day earlier marked the debut of maybe the next great Knicks point guard.
“I didn’t expect things,’’ Ntilikina told reporters after the game. “I was just trying to bring what I can bring to my team. That’s what I did. Now I’m just focusing on working more.”
After playing just eight minutes in the season opener, Ntilikina missed two games after rolling his left ankle in practice. Frazier’s debut also was delayed. He missed the first five games of the 1967 season after getting injured in the preseason.
“I would tell him to stay confident,’’ Frazier told MSG Networks. “I had mentors. I had Freddie Crawford, Emmette Bryant, Dick Barnett. All of these guys were right there that night telling me what to do, just be relaxed, play my game.
“They had confidence in me. And just by those guys telling me that, it gave me so much confidence once I got on to the court.’’
The Knicks have surrounded Ntilikina with mentors in veteran point guards Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack. The education of Ntilikina continues Sunday night (6:30 p.m.; MSG Network & MSG GO) when he’ll take the court for the first time against the greatest player in the world.
The Knicks play at LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks (1-3) are looking for their first road win.
“It’s going to be great, but we have to go out there and play like it’s a game like the others,’’ Ntilikina said. “They are so talented. It’s going to be a fun game.’’