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Walter "Clyde" Frazier Jr. (born March 29, 1945) is an American former professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As their floor general and top perimeter defender, 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.
High school and collegeEdit
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. 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.
New York KnicksEdit
1967–1969: Career beginningsEdit
Frazier was drafted fifth overall by the New York Knicks, going on to average 9.0 points per game and be named to the NBA All-Rookie Team during the 1967–68 season. During his rookie season with the Knicks, he picked up the nickname "Clyde" because he wore a fedora similar to that of Warren Beatty, who played Clyde Barrow in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.
As a sophomore, Frazier's 17.5 points, 7.9 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game averages made him one of the most improved players in the league.
1969–70: Breakthrough year and first NBA championshipEdit
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 during the 1969–70 season, the first of seven selections during his 10-year stint with the Knicks.
The Knicks made it to the 1970 NBA Finals thanks to the great play of both Frazier and star teammate Willis Reed. However, in game five, Reed suffered a painful leg injury. 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 its first two points before limping off. With Reed out, Frazier went on to post one of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history, tallying 36 points, seven rebounds, 19 assists, and six steals in leading New York to victory. ESPN is one of the many sports sites to call it the greatest game seven 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 20.4 points per game average during the second series.
Following the 1970–71 season, the Knicks traded for Monroe, who was always difficult for Frazier to guard. Not many people thought the two players’ styles would mesh, but Monroe and Frazier soon became one of the best backcourts in the league, even earning the nickname the "Rolls Royce" backcourt.
In 1976, Frazier was selected for his seventh and final NBA All-Star Game.
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.
Frazier was traded to the Cleveland 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 the 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.
- Won 2 NBA championships (1970, 1973) with the New York Knicks.
- 7× NBA All-Star (1970–1976)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1975)
- Frazier's no. 10 jersey was retired by the New York Knicks on December 15, 1979.
- Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987
- Elected to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
- In September 2012, Frazier was honored by the Ride of Fame and a double-decker tour bus in New York City was dedicated to him.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Won an NBA championship|
Since the late 1960s, Frazier has been known for being a fashion icon and was one of the first major pro athletes to be acclaimed as such. The website Clyde So Fly catalogs and grades every suit he wears while broadcasting New York Knicks games on the MSG Network.
Frazier 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.
- "Beginnings: Walt Frazier". msgnetworks.com. MSG Networks. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Bradley, Bill (1976). Life on the Run. New York: RosettaBooks. ISBN 9780795323263.
- "1967: Knicks draftee Walt Frazier earns his "Clyde" nickname for his "Bonnie and Clyde" style hat". New York Knicks. (NBA). September 7, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
- "Houston Rockets 110 - New York Knicks 123". NBA.com/Stats. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
- "N.B.A. All‐Stars, Without Alcindor, Defeat A.B.A., 125‐120, at Astrodome", The New York Times, May 29, 1971
- "1971: Knicks Trade for Earl "The Pearl" Monroe to Form "Rolls Royce" Backcourt". New York Knicks. September 11, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
- Zwerling, Jared (September 19, 2012). "Kickin' it with a (former) Knick: Walt Frazier". espn.com. ESPN. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "Clyde So Fly – Grading Walt "Clyde" Frazier's suits one game at a time". clydesofly.com. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "Personalities". msgnetworks.com. MSG Networks. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "Search → Clyde". pumacom. Puma. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Frazier, Harvey (February 25, 2010). "Home and Garden – At Home With Walt Frazier – The Transition Game". New York Times. p. D1. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "Walt Frazier Is Still Living the Penthouse Life". Wall Street Journal. July 19, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Newman, Chuck (February 3, 1986). "Penn's Walt Frazier Jr. Has a Tough Dad to Follow". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. C01. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
- Hughes, C.J. (June 12, 2011). "Q & A with Walt Frazier III, Keller Williams broker and son of NBA great". therealdeal.com. The Real Deal – New York Real Estate News. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walt Frazier.|
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com
- NBA Encyclopedia
- Basketball Hall of Fame profile
- Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
- Walt Frazier (in the New Georgia Encyclopedia)
- La Monica, Mark (November 30, 2007). "I want my Clyde TV". Long Island Newsday. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009.