InKings of the Garden, Adam J. Criblez traces the fall and rise of the New York Knicks between the 1973, the year they won their last NBA championship, and 1985, when the organization drafted Patrick Ewing and gave their fans hope after a decade of frustrations.
During these years, the teams led by Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bob McAdoo, Spencer Haywood, and Bernard King never achieved tremendous on-court success, and their struggles mirrored those facing New York City over the same span. In the mid-seventies, as the Knicks lost more games than they won and played before smaller and smaller crowds, the city they represented was on the brink of bankruptcy, while urban disinvestment, growing income inequality, and street gangs created a feeling of urban despair.
Kings of the Gardendetails how the Knicks' fortunes and those of New York City were inextricably linked. As the team's Black superstars enjoyed national fame, Black musicians, DJs, and B-boys in the South Bronx were creating a new culture expression—hip-hop—that like the NBA would become a global phenomenon. Criblez's fascinating account of the era shows that even though the team's efforts to build a dynasty ultimately failed, the Knicks, like the city they played in, scrappily and spectacularly symbolized all that was right—and wrong—with the NBA and the nation during this turbulent, creative, and momentous time.