“Before He Was Clyde” Tips Off the Summer Series with a Look at Walt Frazier’s
Madison Square Garden Debut in the 1967 NIT Championship Game
“Clyde” to Live-Tweet During Episode
New York, NY (June 20, 2012) – Two weeks before he was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1967, Walt Frazier gave basketball fans at Madison Square Garden a preview of what would become his legendary swishing and dishing as he led the Southern Illinois University Salukis to the NIT Championship. On Saturday, June 23 at 9:00 p.m., MSG’s Emmy Award-winning series, “MSG’s Vault,” takes an in-depth look at the game in an all-new episode titled “Before He Was Clyde.”
During the show, “Clyde,” who Tweets under @WaltFrazier, will take over the New York Knicks Twitter handle (@nyknicks) to answer fan questions as viewers watch the episode. Fans can ask “Clyde” a question using the hashtag #CLYDETAKEOVER.
Hosted by veteran broadcaster Al Trautwig, “Before He Was Clyde” features color video of the 1967 NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden as Frazier and his Salukis faced the Al McGuire-led Marquette University Warriors. The original video of the game was discovered on a two-inch “quad” tape at WSIU (PBS) in Carbondale, Illinois and the game has not been seen on television since the night it aired live.
In the one-hour episode, Frazier discusses his decision to attend Southern Illinois and what it meant to go to a Northern school after growing up in racially-segregated Atlanta, Georgia.
“Growing up in Atlanta, I had to ride in the back of the bus, we couldn’t go into any restaurant that we wanted to, so it was like emancipation for me and I was equal to everyone else,” said Frazier.
In the game, Frazier leads the Salukis back from an 11-point deficit at the half, totaling 21 points and 11 rebounds, to beat Marquette 71-56. He scored 88 points in four games in the NIT and was named MVP of the tournament. When asked if his NIT performance was the reason the Knicks drafted him a few weeks later, Frazier responded “unequivocally.”
The episode includes footage of Frazier’s postgame interview with Frank Gifford, who was the broadcast’s color analyst alongside play-by-play man Tom Kelly. It also includes footage of Jim Valvano as a senior point guard at Rutgers, the team Frazier’s Salukis beat to advance to the tournament final.
“MSG’s Vault” is a summer-long series on MSG and continues with a look at the 1975 New York Islanders in July.