12 May Getting to Know Walt “Clyde” Frazier
It’s been 50 years since Clyde Frazier and the 1970 Knicks won the NBA title. The iconic team leader took some time to reminisce with Jewish Vues columnist Ephraim Fischbein.
Full Name – Walt Frazier
Born –Atlanta, Georgia on March 29, 1945
Nickname – I picked up the nickname “Clyde” because I wore a similar hat to Clyde Barrow in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. I was known for my flamboyant sense of style off of the court as well. I would arrive at games in a Rolls Royce, dressed in designer suits, broad-brimmed Borsalino hats, and full-length mink coats
Favorite thing to do on an off day – Sleep Athlete you would pay to watch perform today – Lebron James
Hobbies and Interests – Sailing, gardening, jogging, yoga, horseback riding and learning new words and phrases for my broadcasts. I tend to do most of these things during the off season, way too busy working for the Knicks in the winter months.
You are known for your vocabulary when announcing. What are some of the ways you improve your vocabulary? The Sunday Times Arts and Leisure section, when they critiqued the Broadway plays using words such as: riveting, mesmerizing, provocative, profound, intoxicating. So I liked the way the words sound. I have books and books of words and phrases that I write down and study them over and over and over. Whatever you’ve heard me say during the game I’ve said hundreds of times, sitting in my living room.
Favorite Actors – Al Pacino Favorite Team While Growing UpNY Yankees and Baltimore Colts
Boyhood Idols – Fellow Hall of Famers, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain
First Job – I was a curb boy. We used to take orders from people from their cars while waiting at the curb.
Favorite City You’ve Visited – San Francisco
Favorite Non Basketball Team – San Francisco 49ers
If You Can Trade Places With Anyone, It Would Be – I really can’t think of anyone I would want to trade places with. I’m all about peace & tranquility. I don’t enjoy stress or pressure, so I’m happy right here.
Biggest Influence On Your Career– My family and all the coaches I had throughout grade and high school.
On Playing In Madison Square Garden – It’s intimidating and invigorating all at the same time. It was a dream come true to play in the world’s most famous arena.
Your rookie season was in 1967. What was it like being in New York? I didn’t like New York. The hustle, the bustle. I didn’t know where to go. I’d be walking by people on the street—you don’t know if they’re dead or alive, man! And nobody seems to care. It was overwhelming. It took me a couple years.
How did you start being known for the clothing you wear? – Well, see, it started out early. My dad was a good dresser. So I remember as a kid admiring his clothes, trying to wear them when he wasn’t around.
Most Embarrassing Pro Moment – One year we lost to the Washington Bullets and Earl Monroe had a huge game against me. A good friend who made me look silly that one night.
Biggest thrill as an athlete – Winning the world championship in Game 7 in the 1969-1970 season. It was the first championship for the Knicks. In that game 7, I had a huge game. The Garden crowd wanted it bad and we delivered. I loved those fans back in the 1970’s. Those fans were so much more knowledgeable. Fans today are younger and are looking for entertainment. They like the dunks and the 3 point shot rather than understanding the fundamentals of the game.