Jackson has a special way with stars

I grew up in the New York metropolitan area and fell in love with basketball as a young kid. I watched and listened to hundreds of New York Knicks games during the late '60s and early '70s.

Not only could I spit out the names of their starters (Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed), but I also knew every one of their subs. Players such as Dave Stallworth, Cazzie Russell, Mike Riordan, Nate Bowman, Hawthorne Wingo and Phil Jackson became cult figures during the Knicks' championship seasons. Jackson was the skinny, long-armed forward with the coat hanger shoulders and bony elbows out of the University of North Dakota. He was limited athletically but he endeared himself to the New York fans with his intelligence, hard work, tenacious defense and rebounding.