For all the reasons that Andrew Sharp covered, I’d want to talk to the basketball that John Starks manhandled, or watch as a talking basketball talked to John Starks, and walked him through each of his of his 2-18, plus the one Hakeem blocked at the end of game six, while Starks sweats through the video montage, shaking his head muttering, “I don’t know… I don’t know…” like a shattered Stephen King character.
Then I realized that if anyone needs to talk to a Talking Basketball, it’s Walt “Clyde” Frazier. I would listen to Walt-Clyde talk about anything, no matter how unwatchable—cough, the Knicks, cough—his chosen topics may be. I’d listen to Walt-Clyde rhyme his way through a chemistry textbook. I mean, you wouldn’t want to learn about how molecules “catalyze and fraternize?”
Walt Frazier is the most loquacious color man in the NBA, who, like Ray Hudson in soccer, “invents a new language in English” with every game he calls. Save for Charles Barkley, Frazier’s personality is the most outsized of the all-time greats (contrast him with the stately reserve of Bill Russell or Julius Erving, post playing career), and his attitude toward being interviewed by the basketball from Game Seven of the 1970 Finals would give the talking basketball more legitimacy than any interview it’s been part of to date. Dr. J’s interview was illuminating, but wouldn’t stand up to Walt Frazier musing and effusing.
Not only did Walt-Clyde have an “in the huddle” view of one of the five most mythologized moments in the NBA Finals, ever, in witnessing the most inspirational four points of all time, he also went on to lead the Knicks to victory with a near-triple-double of 38 points, 7 rebounds, 19 assists, and 5 steals (one of which, against Jerry West, broke the Lakers’ back). It’s the most inspired (get it?) Game Seven performance of all time, not only in NBA Finals History, but in the history of Game Sevens across all American sports.
I want Walt Frazier to talk about that game at length. It could be a Bill Moyers’ Journal special, or at least a half-time puff piece, but if I have to settle for a 30-second spot with the talking basketball (Woody Allen does the voice, naturally) asking Clyde Frazier to describe the atmosphere in the Garden when the Knicks went up by 27 just before halftime—his moment, not Willis’—I’d still be captured and enraptured.
More from “Talking To Talking Balls Week” at the Good Men Project:
Charlie Zegers: Shades of Willis Reed
Ryan Jones: Zeke’s Ankle
Andrew Sharp: 2 for 18
David Matthews: The Logo
Nick Mancini: The ‘94 Knicks
Yago Colás: Nasty Infinities
Eric Freeman: Smush and Kwame?