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Walt Frazier in 1977
|Born||March 29, 1945|
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||200 lb (91 kg)|
|College||Southern Illinois (1963-1967)|
|NBA draft||1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall|
|Selected by the New York Knicks|
|1967-1977||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||15,581 (18.9 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,830 (5.9 rpg)|
|Assists||5,040 (6.1 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Walter "Clyde" Frazier (born March 29, 1945) is an American former basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). As their floor general, he led the New York Knicks to the franchise's only two championships (1970 and 1973), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. Upon his retirement from basketball, Frazier went into broadcasting; he is currently a color commentator for telecasts of Knicks games on the MSG Network.
The eldest of nine children, Frazier attended Atlanta's David Tobias Howard High School. He quarterbacked the football team and played catcher on the baseball team. He learned basketball on a rutted and dirt playground, the only facility available at his all-black school in the racially segregated South of the 1950s. After Howard, Frazier attended Southern Illinois University. Although he was offered other scholarships for his football skills, Frazier accepted a basketball offer from Southern Illinois University, saying that "there were no black quarterbacks, so I played basketball."
Frazier became one of the premier collegiate basketball players in the country. He was named a Division II All-American in 1964 and 1965. As a sophomore in 1965, Frazier led SIU to the NCAA Division II Tournament, only to lose in the finals to Jerry Sloan and the Evansville Purple Aces 85-82 in overtime. In 1966, he was academically ineligible for basketball.
SIU moved up from Division II to Division I in 1967, and Frazier and SIU won the National Invitation Tournament, beating Marquette University 71-56 in the final, in the last college basketball game played at the old Madison Square Garden in New York. Frazier was named Most Valuable Player of the 1967 tournament.
Frazier was drafted fifth overall by the New York Knicks. He scored just two points in a 13-point loss against the Detroit Pistons in his NBA debut, but then went on to become one of five NBA players to be named to the NBA All-Rookie Team during the 1967-68 season.
After averaging only 9.0 points per game during his rookie year, Frazier's 17.5 points, 7.9 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game averages in his second year playing for New York made him one of the most improved players in the league.
On October 30, 1969, Frazier recorded 43 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists in a 123-110 win over the Houston Rockets. Frazier was chosen as an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career during the 1969-70 season. He would go on to be selected to seven NBA All-Star Games over the course of his 10-year stint with the Knicks.
The Knicks were able to make it all the way to the NBA Finals during the 1970 NBA playoffs thanks to the great play of both Frazier and star teammate Willis Reed. However, in game five, Reed suffered a leg injury, making him unable to walk for the next few days. With Reed out, chances of the Knicks winning the championship were slim. However, Reed returned to the series, playing the first two minutes of game seven and scoring the first two points of the game. Reed was in too much pain to continue to play for the last 46 minutes of the game, meaning that it was up to Frazier to lead New York to the victory. Frazier recorded 36 points, seven rebounds, 19 assists, and six steals during the game. His performance is one of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history. ESPN is one of the many websites to call Frazier's incredible game the greatest game seven performance ever.
The Knicks were unable to repeat as champions in 1971, falling to the Baltimore Bullets and their star shooting guard Earl Monroe in the second round of the playoffs despite Frazier's great 20.4 points per game average during the second series.
Following the 1970-71 season the Knicks traded for Earl Monroe, whom was always difficult for Frazier to guard. Not many people thought that he could fit in with Walt, however, Monroe and Frazier soon become known as one of the best backcourts in the league, even earning the nickname the "Rolls Royce" backcourt.
The Knicks returned to the NBA Finals in 1972, but fell to the Los Angeles Lakers who completed a record-setting season with an NBA championship.
Frazier won his and the Knicks' second NBA championship in 1973, when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in a five-game series. Frazier's defense on Jerry West played a major role in defeating the star-filled team.
In 1976, Frazier was selected for his seventh and final NBA All-Star Game.
While playing for the Knicks, he picked up the nickname "Clyde" because he wore a hat similar to that of Warren Beatty, who played Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1968.
Frazier held Knicks' franchise records for most games (759), minutes played (28,995), field goals attempted (11,669), field goals made (5,736), free throws attempted (4,017), free throws made (3,145), assists (4,791) and points (14,617). Patrick Ewing eventually broke most of those records, but Frazier's assists record still stands.
After ten years in New York, Frazier ended his career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Frazier was traded to the Cavaliers after the 1976-77 season for the younger Jim Cleamons. The trade left the NBA world stunned, as many people were furious that New York was willing to let go of arguably their greatest player in franchise history. Frazier played only 66 games over the course of three seasons with the Cavaliers. He retired midway through the 1979-80 season, when he only played 3 games and averaged career-lows of 3.3 points and 2.7 assists before being waived.
|+||Denotes season in which Frazier won an NBA championship|
|Occurred in playoff competition|
|19||Los Angeles Lakers||Home||May 8, 1970||44||36||7|
|17||Baltimore Bullets||Away||March 30, 1969||44||26||7|
|16||Philadelphia 76ers||Away||January 22, 1969||22|
|16||Los Angeles Lakers||Home||February 18, 1969||30|
|16||Philadelphia 76ers||Away||March 9, 1969||18|
|16||San Francisco Warriors||Home||October 23, 1969||18|
|16||Phoenix Suns||Away||December 28, 1969||42||12||1|
Frazier scored 40 or more points five times in the regular season.
|44||Los Angeles Lakers||Away||November 2, 1973||46||20||28||4||4||7||5|
|43||San Diego Rockets||Home||October 30, 1969||14||22||15||19|
|43||Phoenix Suns||Away||January 11, 1975||48||17||24||9||10||3||5|
|41||Cincinnati Royals||Home||January 1, 1972||45||17||24||7||8||9||3|
|41||Indiana Pacers||Away||March 31, 1977||45||12||20||17||20||7||11|
|Points||44||at Los Angeles Lakers||November 2, 1973|
|Points, half (2nd)||29||vs. Cincinnati Royals||January 1, 1972|
|Field goal percentage||18-22 (.818)||at Buffalo Braves||December 17, 1971|
|Field goals made||20||at Los Angeles Lakers||November 2, 1973|
|Field goal attempts||28||at Los Angeles Lakers||November 2, 1973|
|Free throws made||17||at Indiana Pacers||March 31, 1977|
|Free throw attempts||20||vs. Seattle SuperSonics||December 2, 1969|
|Free throw attempts||20||at Indiana Pacers||March 31, 1977|
|Steals||6||at Indiana Pacers||March 31, 1977|
|Points||38||vs. Capital Bullets||April 7, 1974|
|Points||38||at Boston Celtics||April 19, 1974|
|Field goal percentage|
|Field goals made||16||vs. Capital Bullets||April 7, 1974|
|Field goal attempts||31|
|Free throws made, none missed||12-12||vs. Los Angeles Lakers||May 8, 1970|
|Free throws made||12||vs. Los Angeles Lakers||May 8, 1970|
|Free throw attempts||15||at Boston Celtics||April 23, 1972|
|Rebounds||16||vs. Baltimore Bullets||April 2, 1970|
|Assists||19||vs. Los Angeles Lakers||May 8, 1970|
Frazier is also known for his iconic fashion sense and unique style. The website Clyde So Fly catalogs and grades every suit he wears while broadcasting New York Knicks games on the MSG Network.
He lives in Harlem with his long-term girlfriend, Patricia James, and they also have a home in St. Croix. He is the father of a son referred to both as Walt Jr. and, later, Walt III. Frazier is a member of the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha.