STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $49.98
RUNNING TIME: 1327 Minutes

The Pitch

“You a diehard Knicks fan? Get some tissues and make sure you’re alone.”

The Humans

Willis Reed, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Bradley, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Dave Dubusschere, Mark Jackson, Patrick Ewing and a ton of other really tall guys.

"Holy Hannah! What’s that orange round thing falling out of the sky?!"
"Maybe it’s a meteor!"

The Nutshell

Considering that the Knicks are 6-13 this year under Larry Brown, who’s currently at his 432nd coaching job, this disk couldn’t have arrived at a better time to lift the spirits of Knicks fans. It covers everything from the Knicks’ early beginnings to their heyday with Willis Reed, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Dave Debusschere, Bill Bradley, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe to the Patrick Ewing era and the early ‘90s wars with the Pacers, to the heated rivalry with the Heat and today’s team led by Stephon Marbury. It features several of the Knicks’ most memorable games and profiles of the most memorable players, the rivalries, coaches, history, tradition, everything. If you follow the Orange and Blue, this set is a must-have.

The Package

A handsome five disc set with the Knicks symbol and the best players in Knicks history below. The outside cover is of the shiny variety and there’s a team photo of the 1970 Championship team on the inside of the pullout. There’s a staggering amount of footage to be seen in this thing, so much so it’s like watching a whole season of a TV box set. The footage dates from the late ‘40s to this past 2005 season and subsequently ranges from old grainy black and white film of games back in the Truman era to the floor model, vacuum tube RCA TV footage of the early ‘70s, to the Tivo-worthy stuff of today. Sound is equally diverse. The thing that surprised me the most was that Marv Albert was calling the 1970 Championship game. I never really considered just how long he had been doing this job, but apparently it’s been a while now. I’d been used to him saying, “It’s Shaq over to Wade from downtown…YES!”; not “It’s Reed over to Clyde from downtown…YES!”.

"So this is the number of knee operations I can expect?"

The Lowdown

Disc 1:

• Walt Frazier introduction
• The History: New York’s Game – History of the Knicks. Over an hour. Excellent piece. Everything covered up to around 1985 and the Ewing draft pick.
• 1990 to 2005: A New History of Excellence. About 22 minutes. Covers both of the Knicks’ runs to the NBA Finals in 1994 and 1999, where they lost to the Rockets and Spurs respectively. I watched the 1999 Playoffs intently because the Knicks were only the second #8 Seed to knock off a #1 Seed in the Miami Heat. Ewing was injured and Latrell Sprewell and Larry Johnson carried a depleted team that almost had no business being in the playoffs all the way to the Finals. Great run.
• The Players: Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bernard King, Patrick Ewing, Stephon Marbury. These featurettes average around seven minutes each and cover all of the greats.
• The Rivalries: The Heat, Bernard King vs. Isiah Thomas. Two more 7-minute featurettes. I watched those wars with the Heat and loved every time they met in the playoffs, including that huge brawl around ’97 that pretty much suspended the whole bench on both sides. Surprised there was anybody left to finish the series when David Stern got done gutting the rosters. Knicks were definitely screwed there.
• The Tradition & Heritage: diverse profiles and featurettes on coach Red Holzman, the old Garden, Courtside with Spike Lee, Kenny “Sky” Walker, broadcaster Marty Glickman, 1985 Draft Lottery, Knicks’ logos, What is a Knickerbocker, Earl Monroe & Walt Frazier
• The Seasons: 1960-1961 Season Preview, 1969-1970: The First Title, 1970-1971: The Drive to Repeat, 1972-1973: The 2nd Championship Season, 1999: From 8th Seed to NBA Finals.

"Goddamned bums! Couldn’t hit a curve ball if it was gift wrapped!
Yo Koufax, let’s see some Ks here!
Go Big Blue! Go Big Blue!"

The rest of the four discs feature key games from the Knicks’ entire history:

Disc 2:

• 1970 NBA Finals, Game 7: Willis Reed hobbles onto the court and The Knicks stride to their first championship
• 1970 NBA Finals, Game 5: Knicks post a 16-point comeback
• 1984 Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 5: Knicks vs. Pistons in overtime. Bernard King: 44 points, Isiah Thomas 40. This is a kick-ass game. You want to know what Bernard King was like before the knee injury that pretty much killed his career? This is one of the games to see.

"Okay, so after we kick the shit out of Kentucky, White Castles are on me…"

Disc 3:

• 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 6: Knicks push the Celtics to seven games, led by King’s 44 points.
• 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 3: Knicks sweep the 76ers.

Disc 4:

• 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2: John Starks completes “The Dunk” over the Bulls.
• 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7: Patrick Ewing tips the ball in sealing New York’s first Conference Title in 20 Years. Fantastic finish.

Disc 5:

• 1999 Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 5: The Knicks complete an improbable knocking off of the Miami Heat as an 8th Seed to advance on toward the NBA Finals, the first team ever to do so.
• 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3: Larry Johnson completes a 4-point play to rock the Pacers. I saw this game. Unbelievable.

"So tell me what you think of this fight you have coming up against Frazier?"
"No, Smokin’ Joe."
"You sure you’re interviewing the right guy, Howard?"

Overall, you don’t even have to be a Knicks fan to enjoy this set. But if you are, this has every great moment, every player, every possible feature you could possibly want. Awesome set. Now if they’ll just do one like this for the Louisville Cardinals…

9.1 out of 10