There were lots of reasons why the New York Knicks of the late 60s and early 70s became a team for the ages. First of all, they were good, with three trips to the NBA Finals in four seasons and two championships. They had a blend of players from diverse backgrounds whose unique personalities played well in New York. And they had a fan base that was hungry for the franchise's first NBA title and understood the nuances of the game.
As their small forward -- former Rhodes Scholar and future U.S. Senator -- Bill Bradley put it, the team had an audience that appreciated not just the assist on a successful play but "the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the basket."
ESPN's 30 For 30 series takes a closer look at these Knicks, which had Hall of Famers with Bradley, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere and Earl Monroe, with When The Garden Was Eden. (They also had a nice role player named Phil Jackson.) Based on the book by New York Times writer Harvey Araton, the documentary premieres on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday. It was executive produced by Doug Ellin, Jim Lefkowitz and their Halyard Park production company, and directed by Michael Rapaport.
The glory years of these Knicks were over by the time Ellin, the creator of the HBO hit Entourage, started elementary school. But this team had such an impact on New York sports that he and most Knick fans of his generation feel a special connection to it, even though they didn't really experience the run firsthand. Here's more from Ellin on why this project came straight from the heart: