The New York Knicks come in at No. 3 in the Panini America 30 Teams/30 Weeks NBA countdown to the most collectable NBA teams of all-time.
New York long has had a love affair with basketball, and nowhere is that more evident than at Madison Square Garden. No matter the Knicks’ record, the arena is always sold out and rowdy with New Yorkers cheering on their squad.
The team’s history goes back as far as the NBA does, and the pinnacle for the franchise was in the early 1970s. The Knicks boasted a collection of talent that ranks among the game’s best in history. Hall of Famers Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed brought the team’s first title in dramatic fashion.
Facing a Lakers squad with all-timers Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in the 1970 Finals, the Knicks grinded out a series win in seven games. That clash is one of the most memorable in league history thanks in large part to the heroics of Reed. The Hall of Fame big man surprised everyone by playing through a severe leg muscle injury in Game 7. Starting the game, he scored the first two buckets of the night on a pair of midrange jumpers. The emotional lift of seeing their leader play through pain was much greater than the four-point cushion, and the Knicks prevailed.
After adding another future Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, New York would bring a championship back to the Big Apple in 1973. This time around, they dismantled the Lakers in five games. Reed was Finals MVP of each series.
The Knicks would not reach the mountain top, but it wasn’t for a lack of talent.
Bernard King spent a few years as a headliner. A scoring machine, he was the first Knicks player to notch 60 points at Madison Square Garden (Christmas 1984).
After injuries derailed King’s career, New York struck gold by winning the first draft lottery and drafting Patrick Ewing in 1985. A perfect combination of a big star in a big market made the Knicks relevant for the next 15 years. In that time, they had epic playoff battles with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Reggie Miller’s Pacers. Ewing helped New York reach the Finals twice. The Knicks lost an epic seven-game series to the Rockets in 1994 and an injury prevented Ewing from playing vs. the Spurs in 1999. As a result, New York would lose the series in five games.
Carmelo Anthony, one of the best pure scorers of his generation, shined bright in the 2010s, making six All-Star appearances and winning a scoring title in 2013. Averaging 28 points in 21 games, his high-scoring talent extended to postseason play, too.
Check out the Knicks’ all-time lineup below and click on each card to see if they are available for purchase on the Beckett Marketplace. The latest Panini NBA products can be found on its website.