Warner Bros. // 2005 // 1327 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 1st, 2005
F*** off, Charles Smith.
I am a Knicks fan. My rabid days are behind me, but I still follow the team and keep daily tabs on the New York Post to dig all the dirt I can on the overpaid giants of Madison Square Garden. So it was with great interest I got my paws on this expansive set of Knickerbocker history. Is it money in the bank or a brick?
Warner Brothers and NBA Entertainment have unleashed a monster of set for their tribute to my hapless New York Knicks. It appears the producers were able to unearth every modicum of televised video related to the Knicks for this presentation, rolled it all together, stuck on a whole mess of game recasts and stamped it with the orange and blue logo.
The set is divided into five double-sided discs. Disc One features the main content of the set, with selected features focusing on the history, players, rivalries, tradition, and seasons. The remaining discs sport full games on each side.
A more detailed breakdown:
Disc One, Side A
* "Walt Frazier Introduction"
* "1946-1990: New York's Game: History of the Knicks"
* "1990-2005: A New Era of Knicks Excellence"
* Dave DeBusschere
* Jerry Lucas
* Willis Reed
* Bill Bradley
* Walt "Clyde" Frazier
* Earl "The Pearl" Monroe
* Bernard King
* Patrick Ewing
* Stephon Marbury
* "Bernard King vs. Isiah Thomas"
* "Miami Heat"
The Tradition and Heritage
* "Ear Monroe and Walt Frazier"
* "The Coach -- Red Holzman"
* "A Broadcasting Legend -- Marty Glickman"
* "The Old Garden"
* "Courtside with Spike Lee"
* "Clyde's Tour of MSG"
* "Kenny Walker Soars"
* "1985 Draft Lottery"
* "What is a Knickerbocker?"
* "Knicks Logo, An Evolution"
Disc One, Side B
* 1960-61: Season Preview
* 1969-70: The First Title
* 1970-71: The Drive to Repeat
* 1972-73: The Second Championship Season
* 1999: From 8th Seed to NBA Finals
Disc Two, Side A
* 1970 NBA Finals, Game 7 (The First Title)
* 1970 NBA Finals, Game 5
Disc Two, Side B
* 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 6 (vs. Celtics)
Disc Three, Side A
* 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 6 (Bernard King's 44)
Disc Three, Side B
* 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs, Game 3 (defeat the 76ers in overtime)
Disc Four, Side A
* 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2 ("The Dunk")
Disc Four, Side B
* 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7 (first conference title in 20 years)
Disc Five, Side A
* 1999 Eastern Conference Playoffs (Allan Houston's clutch jumper)
Disc Five, Side B
* 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3 (LJ's 4-point play)
There is a lot of stuff on these discs, and the set is a no-brainer for the die-hard Knicks fans in your family. As a fan myself, I can attest to the quality of this set; all the important bases are covered to render a nice overview of a team that has pissed me off to no end.
The bread and butter of this set is the first disc, which is loaded silly with stuff. The features are pieces done years ago, now organized into one easily navigable system. That doesn't really affect anything, and for the most part they are all quite good, but just be aware that there is very little brand-new product here.
Still, the amount of material is staggering. Each spotlighted player gets at least a three minute profile, with the exception of Bill Bradley, where a black and white extended feature from his playing days is included.
The history segments offer beefy retrospects on eras of Knick history. For me, the value of the former lies with the attention given to the two championships the Knicks secured over three decades ago, and would, sadly, remain the only titles the franchise would ever attain.
That being said, it's the latter offering, the look at the Knicks of the '90s through today that is the most compelling. While the Knicks were only briefly competitive for championships during that stretch, the team was involved in the most heated rivalries, played some of the league's most memorable games, and generated some truly great sports moments.
As such, they made for great entertainment. You don't see games like those Bulls, Pacers, and Heat series anymore. If the set tilts to one era more, it is the '90s stretch, which was characterized by these blood feuds on the court. That's fine by me; it is within those years that some of the most iconic happenings in the NBA transpired:
* John Starks's dunk over the Bulls front line.
* The Miami brawl that cleared the benches and drastically altered the outcome of the 1997 playoff series.
* The too-ironic-to-be-true Larry Johnson/Alonzo Mourning fistfight that found Jeff Van Gundy clinging to Mourning's legs like a French poodle.
* Reggie Miller's incredible marksmanship and his clashes with Spike Lee.
* Ewing's last-second tip-in to send the Knicks to their first Finals in decades.
* Allan Houston's buzzer-beater to break the Heat's heart in the first round of the 1999 playoffs.
* LJ's ridiculous four-point play against the Pacers.
Too bad all of that magic never ended in a title. That's the big elephant in the room; this is supposedly the "dynasty" series, but the Knicks have only ever won two titles, and, in fact, have rarely been competitive after that. Compared to the Bulls, Lakers, and Celtics, they are certainly not of champion-caliber. But New York is the world's biggest market, and those moments I just listed are indisputably great, so hence this set.
Fine by me.
The remainder of the discs is taken up with games, shown in their entirety (minus commercials of course). Admittedly, these are but passing diversions; how many times are you going to sit through a two hour-plus basketball game that you know the outcome to? (Hint: they win.) But it is enjoyable to relive some of those prime-time moments.
My one big complaint has to do with the presentation. The packaging looks nice, but the DVDs themselves are obtuse, dual-sided and not even labeled. You better keep track of which one is which or you'll be searching forever for the specific segment you want.
Stephon Marbury's inclusion is obviously a shout-out to the current generation of fan. I like the guy and hope that one day he fulfills his potential as the next great Knicks superstar, but as of now, he certainly doesn't belong in the company of Ewing, Reed, and Frazier.
Lots of Knicks goodness to be had here. If there's a fan nearby and you need a Christmas gift, here you go.
Not guilty. Jordan sucks.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 1327 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Eight Full Games
* Studio Site
* Knicks Official Site