Let’s be real: the New York Knicks have been one of the most disappointing franchises in the NBA since their last championship in 1973. Forty-five strong years and counting. Other things to happen in 1973? An average American raked in $12,900 in annual salary, garlic knots were invented, and Secretariat won the Triple Crown. However, one point of solace for Knicks fans has been the team’s fair share of stars. From Bernard King to Patrick Ewing to Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have not always been searching for a face of the franchise. With these stars comes all-star votes and appearances: but the Knicks’ presence during All-Star Weekend has not been just in the game itself. Unfortunately, this weekend, Kristaps Porzingis will be unable to dazzle us with his skills during the Skills competition and his first-ever all-star game. So, with just Frank Ntilikina participating in the Rising Stars’ Challenge on Friday night, we Knicks fans feel discouraged watching the weekend unfold without our star taking part. But, to relive the glory days, here are the top 5 Knick moments in All-Star Weekend history.
- Nate Robinson Slam-Dunk Contest (2006, 2009-2010)
Nate Robinson is the only player in NBA history to have won three dunk contests. Watching a 5’9” man soar towards a 10’ rim is a sight, and none of his dunks were more exhilarating than his 2009 leap over then-reigning Dunk Champion, 6’11” Dwight Howard. Robinson used Howard’s shoulder, draped in his signature Superman cape, to catapult himself up and over the big man in a moment many basketball fans won’t forget. Robinson became a household name for his electrifying jumping ability, and remains near and dear to the hearts of Knicks fans who suffered through the worst abyss in franchise history, from 2004 to 2010.
- Kristaps Porzingis Skills Challenge (2017)
Nothing better exemplifies Porzingis’ “Unicorn” nickname than his ability to win the skills’ challenge. In 2016, the league changed the format of the competition to include both big men and guards, with a bracket to facilitate the best of both groups squaring off in the final round. Porzingis defeated then-Sacramento Kings Center DeMarcus Cousins and Denver Nuggets Center Nikola Jokić before beating then-Utah Jazz Forward Gordon Hayward to take home the crowd. The event generated such excitement amongst Knicks fans that many (jokingly?) sought to raise a banner of Porzingis’ accomplishment into the all-too-empty rafters.
- Walt “Clyde” Frazier All-Star Game (1975)
In the 1975 All-Star Game, Clyde dropped 30 points on 10-17 shooting en route to a victory for the Eastern Conference over the West, 108-102. Frazier was named the game’s MVP, an announcement delivered by commentators Brent Musburger and Oscar Robertson. Some of the names Clyde beat out to accomplish this illustrious goal- Boston Celtics SG John Havlicek, Golden State Warriors SG Rick Barry, and Milwaukee Bucks Center Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.
- Kenny “Sky” Walker Slam-Dunk Contest (1989)
Walker was not supposed to participate in the dunk contest, but agreed to partake as a replacement selection. However, he did so much more, defeating all-time great dunker Clyde Drexler to emerge victorious. A ferocious windmill got Walker a 49.5/50 score from the judges, and remains one of the more underrated jams in the history of the contest.
Beginning in 2004, the NBA began to include the Shooting Stars Competition as a part of All-Star Weekend’s Saturday night festivities. Teams were created with players representing their teams’ cities, and each team consisted of one current NBA player, one WNBA player, and one retired NBA player. The winner was the team who could complete each shot (a short-range bank, mid-range jumper, 3-pointer, and half-court heave) in the quickest time. In 2012, the New York trio succeeded, finishing the course in 37.3 seconds. They beat out Team Texas (Chandler Parsons and Kenny Smith of the Houston Rockets, along with San Antonio Silver Star Sophia Young) in the final round, when Young and Parsons needed a combined 9 shots to make a 10-foot bank and corner three.