Walter Frazier is a retired professional NBA player who played for the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was born on March 29, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia and was the eldest of nine children. An exceptional athlete since childhood, Frazier was the star of the football, baseball and basketball teams at his high school. He did not receive any formal training in basketball, and learned to play in whatever shabby facilities were available near his house. Straight out of high school, he received football scholarships from many prestigious universities such as University of Kansas and Indiana University, but he chose to go to Southern Illinois University. He was initially ineligible to play basketball due to poor grades, but he worked to improve both his grades and his technique, and returned to the court in the next season. He was a big hit on the team, and led his university to win the National Invitation Tournament in 1967, for which he was also named the Most Valuable Player.
He was selected by the New York Knicks in the 1967 NBA draft and named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1968. He took a little time to adjust to the fast paced competitive style of play in the NBA, but soon marked his place as one of the most valuable players on the team. The New York Knicks thrived under his leadership and he came to be known as one of the fastest and most skilled players in the NBA. He was also known for being one of the most tireless and cool-minded players. Frazier and fellow teammate Earl Monroe made one of the deadliest defense duos in the league.
From 1969 to 1976 Walt Frazier was selected to the All-NBA Defensive Team each year. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team four times and the All-NBA Second Team twice in his career. He led his team to their first ever championship victory in the 1969-70 season by scoring 36 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. He helped them to reach the finals again the following year, and also helped them to secure their second championship title in 1973. He was named the Most Valuable Player at the NBA All-Star game in 1975, scoring 30 points in the final. Near the end of his career, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers but he only played three games with them before retiring in 1979. At the time of his retirement, he held the Knicks record for the most points scored, games played and number of assists.
Frazier had a colorful personality and often wore broad brimmed hats and mink coats. He was nicknamed “Clyde” by his teammates because the hat he wore resembled that of the main character Clyde in the hit film “Bonnie and Clyde”. Since his retirement, he has been involved in a number of ventures, including getting a sailing license and opening up a bed and breakfast in the Virgin Islands and another restaurant in Manhattan. He also works as a broadcaster for the NBA, initially for the Atlanta Hawks and then for the Knicks. In 1996, he founded The Walt Frazier Youth Foundation to help disadvantaged youth. Frazier was inaugurated into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987 and selected to the NBA 50th Anniversary team in 1996.