Jeff Mullins: The Making of a Pro, 1970

For Mullins, the biggest kick in basketball is running and moving the ball. He says, “There’s no thrill like moving well, coming down the court five or six times in a row and getting the ball to the man with the easy shot.

The Secret Behind the Amazing Knicks, 1970

To many, who had become accustomed to the Knicks being have-nots unable to make the playoffs for seven straight seasons (1960-1966), their “instant success” seemed almost unreal.

Baltimore Bullets: Once Upon a Time in Madison Square Garden, 1971

The Bullets needed a change of luck in the Garden.

Red Holzman: A Humpty-Dumpty Situation, 1968

Holzman knows the game of basketball. And he probably knows it better now than back in 1957, when St. Louis fired him after a losing record.

The Knicks—Pro Basketball’s Next Dynasty

Red Holzman criticized Willis Reed unmercifully in the early days. The team captain was generally the target when Holzman screamed: “Don’t turn your head  . . . get back . . . pick up your man.” The Knick coach knew Willis had the temperament to handle the abuse while the other players learned the biggest and the smallest [players] would get the same treatment. 

Pearl Time

Time for a quick Earl Monroe story. This one comes from the magazine Pro Basketball Special (1971-72) and an article titled “Ordeal of the Playoffs,” by the late-great Phil Pepe. The article begins with a quote from Bill Russell that goes like this, “When the playoffs come and the pressure is the greatest, you’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what kind of a man you are, what are you really made of?” Pepe takes Russel’s quote and writes, “Things happen in the playoffs, strange and eerie things. It is a time when the unusual is the norm, the extraordinary is commonplace. And only the stoutest of heart come through under the pressure of the playoffs.” Pepe goes on to retell this unusual “loss of cool” during the 1970 NBA Eastern Division semifinals pitting the soon-to-be champion New York Knicks against Monroe’s Baltimore Bullets.