Through the annals of New York sports history, several names ring out, but none more than Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the New York Knicks television analyst and former all-star Knicks guard who led them to two world championships (in 1970 and 1973) and three championship appearances. It’s the only two championships that the Knicks have ever won.
Frazier, affectionately known as “Clyde,” is celebrating his 20th year as the Knicks’ broadcaster on the MSG network. The Knicks’ legend has distinguished himself behind the mic and on camera just as he had distinguished himself as a Knick great during his playing days.
“From the first time I did a game, I really liked it,” said Frazier, who never considered this as a career for himself while playing basketball professionally or during college.
“I never envisioned broadcasting. It was kind of serendipitous,” noted Frazier, an NBA and College Hall of Famer who was also elected to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. His No. 10 jersey has been retired by the Knicks and hangs in the rafters of Madison Square Garden with the other great Knicks and New York Rangers that have been immortalized in this way.
“I just wanted to be an athlete. That’s the only thing that I ever wanted to do,” he admitted—as well as buy a house with a large kitchen for his mother, her one wish.
Today, Frazier spends time before every game meticulously studying stats and the players on each team’s roster to prepare for the day’s Knick broadcast.
“I’m always studying.” It’s a game day ritual, a habit for Frazier. “I dont even use 30 percent of the stuff that I study for a game, but it might be needed for the next one.”
Frazier, quite studious for someone who just wanted to be an athlete, is as stylish with broadcasting as he was as a player. As knowledgeable as he is about the game, with the information that he imparts, fans are now as drawn to his rhymes, the words and phrases that he uses, as they once were to his prowess on offense and defense.
“Swishing and dishing,” “teflon defense,” “bounding and astounding,” “slicing and dicing,” and “percolating” are all incorporated into the Walt “Clyde” Frazier vernacular.
“The first guy I worked with didn’t really give me a chance to say anything, that’s why I started rhyming. If somebody [a player] did something, I’d start talking and he’d go, ‘Excuse me Walt,’ right on the edge, just run right over me. So while the Knicks were moving the ball, I’d go, ‘They’re dishing and swishing.’ That’s about all I could get in because I knew he was coming back. You gotta get in and out. Team work is very important.”