New York Knicks Legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier Honored in Gray Line's Ride of Fame

Paul Knepper@@paulieknepContributor IIISeptember 20, 2012

Hollywood has the Walk of Fame and, thanks to Gray Line New York, New York City now has the Ride of Fame. Knicks legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier became the newest member on Wednesday afternoon at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pier 78 in Manhattan, which revealed Frazier's signature, open-top, red, double-decker bus.

Gray Line, one of the city's leading sightseeing companies, began the Ride of Fame Campaign two years ago in celebration of their 100th anniversary. The campaign consists of a series of mobile monuments celebrating the endeavors of New Yorkers who have positively represented New York City. Each inductee has his or her personalized decal attached to one of Gray Line's double-decker buses.

Previous inductees include: former Jets quarterback Joe Namath, Yankees legends Roger Maris and Reggie Jackson, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundquist and entertainers Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli and Bernadette Peters.

With the NBA season fast approaching, Gray Line felt it was time to honor a New York Knicks icon. Director of marketing David Chien, who introduced Frazier at the ceremony, said "there was talk of inducting Carmelo [Anthony] or Amar'e [Stoudemire], but if you're honoring Knicks, Mr. Frazier comes first."

Frazier was the starting point guard for the Knicks' two championship teams—1970 and 1973—and was named NBA Finals MVP in 1973. He was selected to seven All-Star teams and seven NBA All- Defense first teams during his ten seasons in New York.

He was the quintessence of cool on and off the court. The unflappable point guard did not receive one technical foul during his illustrious career. He cruised around town in a Rolls-Royce with a "WCF" license plate and developed a reputation as a fashion icon for donning his "Clyde Barrow" hats, fur coats, black capes and animal-print suits.

The Knicks retired Clyde's #10 jersey in 1979. He was was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987 and elected to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

Frazier has remained an active member of the New York City community since retiring from professional basketball in 1980. He resides in Harlem and recently opened a restaurant named "Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine" at 485 10th Avenue.

Clyde donates his time to charitable foundations Dribble to Stop Diabetes and the Walt Frazier Youth Foundation, dedicated to mentoring inner-city children. 

Frazier has also been entertaining New Yorkers for over two decades with his insightful analysis, expansive vocabulary and comical rhymes as a Knicks broadcaster. His long time co-worker on MSG Network, Mike Breen, is quick to point out that he has never seen Clyde refuse an autograph request.

Long known for his exquisite wardrobe, Frazier did not disappoint at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The man of the hour was resplendent in a cream-colored jacket with a pink and navy pattern, pink pants, a navy shirt, pink tie and matching pocket square. He wore a gray belt with a personalized "WF" belt buckle and what appeared to be gray alligator skin boots.

Most notably, Clyde was sporting both of his championship rings. 

On hand for the ceremony were several "VIP" fans selected by "Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine." The VIPs got to ride with Clyde on the double-decker bus to the "Wine and Dine" after the ceremony, were given a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant and had an opportunity to win several items, including a Knicks basketball autographed by Frazier.

Ken Cunningham III, a Knicks fan from Orange, New Jersey said Frazier is "the one guy everybody wants to be like—the championships, the Rolls Royce." He added that Clyde "emphasizes being a class act all the time. He cares about the city. He cares about the people."

After an introduction from Chien, Frazier took the microphone and informed those in attendance that "I've always had a love affair with New York." He said, "It is an honor to be inducted into the Ride of Fame along with people like Donald Trump, Whoopi Goldberg and Bernadette Peters" and thanked Gray Line "for finally getting around to me."

Clyde concluded with some encouraging words for Knicks fans. "I'm optimistic about the Knicks." He mentioned that "they got Jason Kidd and Felton and Camby is back," then turned his attention to Coach Mike Woodson.

"I like Woodson because of his focus on defense," said Clyde. Then he flashed his jewelry and added, "My two championship rings are symbolic of our tenacious defense."

Following his remarks, Frazier cut the red ribbon, revealing his personalized decal on the front of the double-decker bus. The image included a reference to his two championships and pictures of Clyde at his restaurant, with a microphone in his hand and in his famous leopard-print suit.

After the ceremony came to a close, the VIP fans loaded onto the bus bound for "Clyde's Wine and Dine." Before hopping on board, Frazier turned to the driver and joked, "I'm driving. This is my bus."

As the Knicks legend sat down on the upper deck, waiting to be whisked away to his restaurant, he instinctively grabbed the microphone to address the fans.

It was not just his bus; it was his city. And those were his people.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.

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