When the Knicks Were Champs

Here’s What the World Looked Like in 1970

It’s been 50 years since the New York Knicks first championship win on May 8, 1970. It was a seven-game series against the Lakers that began on April 24 with plenty of excitement night after night.

Tied after the first two, Game 3 was a nail-biter to the bitter end when Dave DeBusschere scored with three seconds left, shifting the lead to the Knicks, 102-100. On the inbound play with no timeouts left the Lakers put the ball in the hands of Jerry West. He launched and sunk a behind-half-court shot but because the NBA had yet to institute the three-point rule it was only good for two, sending the game into overtime. The Knicks pulled it off, 111-108.

New York fans entered Game 7 unsure if the eventual series MVP, Willis Reed, would even take the court that night due to a serious thigh injury in Game 5; The Garden erupted with roars of applause as he stepped onto the hardwood during warmups. He started that night and scored the first two buckets for the home team before leaving the game for good with just minutes left in the first half. The Knicks then brought in Walt “Clyde” Frazier who put up 36 points and 19 assists, leading the Knicks to a 113-99 win and their first National Championship. In 2010 ESPN named that the greatest Game 7 in finals history.

Life was a buzz here in New York City for fans. But, what else was happening then? Let’s take a look.