The most famous National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball court, without a doubt, has to be the basketball court at Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York City. The Garden is the home court of the NBA professional league, New York Knicks. With all due respect to the old Boston Garden, the home of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Forum, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Madison Square Gardens is the best of them all. If you say, the Garden, during a basketball conversation, most basketball fans, with the exception of Celtic fans, assume you mean Madison Square Garden. There have been some great NBA teams but their courts dont quiet live up to the hype and history of the basketball court at MSG. Past, present, and future NBA legends look forward to playing at the Garden and playing at their best because its the most venerated court in the NBA.
The NBA at Madison Square Garden
Home Team: New York Knicks
Address:7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets – Atop Penn Station
Seating Capacity: 18,200
There have been four incarnations of the arena. The first two were located at the Northeast corner of Madison Square (Madison Ave. & 26th St.) from which the arena derived its the name. The third MSG, a 17,000-seat arena, was built at 50th Street and 8th Avenue and opened December 15, 1925. The fourth generation and current Garden, known as MSG IV, opened February 14, 1968. Over the years the Garden and its basketball courts have been marketed as The Most Famous Arena in the World.
The NBA World Champion New York Knicks
The basketball court at Madison Square Garden is the site of one of the most memorable moments in the history of the New York Knicks. This is the Knicks home court. It was the site of the seventh game of the 1970 NBA Championship game won by the Knicks in dramatic fashion. The Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers were the Knicks opponents in the Finals. The series was tied at 3 games each when the teams headed back to the Garden for the deciding game. The Lakes were lead by their future Hall of Fame greats 7-foot tall Center, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor (F) and All Star Guard, Jerry West (The NBA Logo of a silhouetted player dribbling a basketball is an image of West). The Knicks also had a great team lead by several players that would go on to be Hall of Famers. Their roster included Walt Clyde the Glide Frazier (G), Dave DeBusschere (F), Phil Jackson (G), Bill Bradley (F), and Team Captain Willis Reed (C).
Reed had been lost to the Knicks due to a knee injury earlier in the series and wasnt expected to play in the deciding game seven. The teams were on the court warming up before the game when radio and television announcers were surprised to see Willis Reed running out onto the court in uniform. Reed actually started the game and scored the first two points for the Knicks, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Reed limped out of the game shortly after that and Walt Frazier took over and had a 36-point, 19-assist, 7-rebound game in leading the Knicks to a win and the Championship. Its games like that 1970 Championship Game between the Knicks and the Lakers that make the basketball court at the Garden the most famous court in the NBA.
Micheal Jordan Interview after 35 Point Game Against Knicks at MSG IV in Rookie Season
What’s the best NBA basketball court? Tell us why in the Comments section.
Great Games on the MSG Basketball Court
WILT CHAMBERLAIN, San Francisco Warriors, 73 points, November 19, 1962, Warriors win 127 119 at MSG III.
PATRICK EWING, New York Knicks, 50 points, Dec. 1, 1990 at MSG IV, Knicks win 113-96, over the Charlotte Hornets.
LEBRON JAMES, Cleveland Cavaliers, 50 points, March 5, 2008 at MSG IV
RICHIE GUERIN, Knicks, 51 points, Feb. 14, 1962 at MSG III
BERNARD KING, Knicks, 52 points, Nov. 24, 1984 at MSG IV
MICHAEL JORDAN, Chicago Bulls, 55 points, March 28, 1995 at MSG IV
RICK BARRY San Francisco Warriors, 57 points, Dec. 14, 1965 at MSG III
Notable Knicks on the MSG Basketball Court
Ive already mentioned the Knicks from the 1970 NBA World Champion Basketball team but there are many other All-Star, Hall of Fame Knicks that have played on the basketball court at Madison Square Garden. Many of them are already in the Basketball Hall of Fame and others are future Hall of Famers. Players like, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Charlie Ward, Maurice Cheeks, Penny Hardaway, Derek Harper, Marcus Camby, and Bob McAdoo were All-Star Players on the basketball court for the New York Knicks over the years. Unfortunately, time and space wont allow me to list all of the great Knick players that played on that famed basketball court at the Garden.
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NBA Legends on the MSG Basketball Court
It would be almost impossible to name all of the great NBA Players that have played on the basketball court at the Garden. The list would be a Whos Who of NBA legends. Players like Bob Cousy, Frank Selvy, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Pettit, Earl The Pearl Monroe, Dave Bing, Pistol Pete Marovich, John Hondo Havlicek, Julius Dr. J Erving, MJ Jordan, Larry Bird, and Ervin Magic Johnson all took to the basketball court at Madison Square Garden at some point in their careers.
Chicago Bull, Micheal Jordan and New York Knick, Patrick Ewing, 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Team
NBA Basketball Fact
Did you know that Bob Pettit was the first recipient of the NBAs Most Valuable Player Award in 1955 1956, his second season in the league? This was the first of two MVPs that Pettit won. Do you know when he won the second one?
There are some great basketball courts in the NBA but I dont know if any of them are more storied than the courts of MSG. Im sure some people will disagree with that but thats all a part of the game. You can talk all of the smack you want but this has to be settled on the basketball court.