Ranking the 50 greatest NBA players of all time

The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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42. Walt Frazier

  • Resume: 13 seasons, 2 NBA championships, 6-time All-NBA selection, 7-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 7-time NBA All-Defensive Team, Hall-of-Famer
  • Stats: 18.9 PPG, 6.1 APG, 5.9 RPG, 1.9 SPG, .490/—/.786 shooting splits, 19.1 career PER, 113.5 win shares

In New York, “Clyde” refers to Walt Frazier, not Clyde Drexler, and for good reason. If it weren’t for a certain guy named Willis Reed, Frazier would undoubtedly be the greatest Knickerbocker ever, and even then, it’s still close.

Simply put, Frazier was the Hannibal Lecter of the NBA in the late ’60s and ’70s: He was not afraid to rip the heart out of an opposing fanbase and eat it in front of them, knocking down big-time buckets time and time again when his team needed it most.

Just take Game 7 in the 1970 NBA Finals. Reed’s heroic return to the court fired everyone up, but it was Frazier who notched 36 points, 19 assists, seven rebounds and five steals to clinch the series.

In 1971, Earl Monroe joined Frazier to form “The Rolls Royce Backcourt,” one of the most dynamic guard pairings in the league, but even more impressively, the two meshed in surprisingly effective fashion to help the Knicks win another title in 1973.

Despite a pretty abrupt ending to his career, Clyde was an efficient floor general, a tremendous pick-pocketer, an efficient rebounder for his position and one of the coolest dudes in the league. His turnaround mid-range jumper was money and with such colorful suits following him well beyond his playing days, it’s no wonder his legacy has endured in New York.