Customer Reviews (4)
A basketball classic
Dave DeBusschere gives an excellent account of the 1969-70 championship season of the New York Knicks.DeBusschere, a forward, was known for his suffocating defense, physical style of play and tenaciousness.When the Knicks acquired DeBusschere in a trade with the Detroit Pistons, it was considered the last piece needed for a championship team.
Pride, teamwork and defense fueled the Knicks.Coach Red Holzman preached that defense created offense.On defense, the Knicks overplayed, trapped, gambled, double teamed and pressed.
DeBusschere fit in perfectly with Bill Bradley, Dick Barnett, Willis Reed and Walt Frazier.
In his day-by-day diary, DeBusschere gives the reader a vivid idea of what it was like to go through an entire season, from training camp to the championship.The wear-and-tear, physical and mental strain and the ups and downs are recorded.
Forty years ago, the average salary of the championship Knicks was $40,000.The arenas and facilities were often decrepit.The Knicks played exhibition games in cities such as Bangor, Maine; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Patterson, N.J.
DeBusschere discusses his days as a player-coach with the Detroit Pistons and shares insights about his Knick teammates.He gives a good account of the Knicks' 18-game winning streak (a record at the time) and the march through the playoffs, defeating the Baltimore Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Open Man provides a glimpse into one of the greatest teams in NBA history and a bygone era.It's a great ride for the reader.
The old school way to play basketball. Dave DeBusschere was one of the best forwards to play the game. His accounting of the 1970 championship series is one for the record books.
The Perfect Pass For An Easy Layup
Jim Bouton's Ball Four was more controversial and Jerry Kramer's Instant Replay chronicled a larger-than-life team, but The Open Man by Dave DeBusschere is as solid as crisp outlet passes and sound defensive play on the hardwood floor.
Chronicling the 1969-1970 championship season of the New York Knickerbockers, DeBusschere - with editors, Paul D. Zimmerman and Dick Schaap - pack the 267 pages with pointed opinions and feelings about the game of life, on and off the court.
In one very heated blast, he says on March 7th, "We took the floor at the Spectrum tonight, with the Philadelphia fans offering their usual courtesies - cussing our wives and mothers and questioning our masculinity. They are the worst fans in the league; they don't deserve a winning team."
A wonderful section on the emotions within the business of sports takes place in the closing pages. The euphoria of a locker room exploding with jubilation after taking the title in seven tough games versus the Los Angeles Lakers is followed by DeBusschere emptying out his locker a few days later, seeing the nameplates of three players already lost through an expansion draft and turning off the lights, leaving the empty Madison Square Garden to attend a celebration held by Mayor John Lindsay.
The club had the best regular season record in the 14-team league - 60-22 - with a fantastic 23-2 start - and DeBusschere averaging 16.1 points per game in the 19 total playoff games of the Knicks. But statistics playonly a very minor role in telling the story of a team that truly made New York City proud.
Back in the day, before slam dunks meant you were good...
An enjoyable book about the Knicks' 1969-70 Championship season, by one of the starting line-up.Debusschere kept a day-to-day diary during that season, obviously because he thought this team was something special.
And they were! The title refers to Coach Red Holzman's creedo: "See the ball, hit the open man."These Knicks didn't have high-profile superstars or sappy showmen.No jitter-bugging after making a fancy shot.They played some of the best intelligent, unselfish team basketball in history.And this was before basketball became more entertainment than sport.I'd bet they'd beat the pants off of any team nowadays.
Anyway, I read this as a kid over and over.I found it inspiring and still look to Dave DeBusschere as a role model.I lost my copy in a flood, but I'm sure it's a good read for an adult, too.
And there are no dirty words, either--yes, this was also before high-priced sports bums made tons of extra money by "writing" books where every other word was a vulgarism, profanity or obscenity.Kinda refreshing!
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