The New York Knicks still remain one of the most prominent franchises in the NBA. They may have had an extended period in the dark during the 2010s, but this does not take away from the fact that the Knicks have a lot of resources.
Over the years, this team have had no shortage of superstars that have made their mark on the history of the franchise. More than a few memorable role players have also had etched themselves in Knicks folklore. However, there are also a fair amount of stars that have made a stop in the New York at one point in their career. Below are five of them that you likely didn’t even remember actually player for the Knicks.
Chauncey Billups, a five-time All-Star, memorably won the Finals MVP award in 2004, as he led the Detroit Pistons to a title in amazing upset against the Los Angeles Lakers. This is without a doubt how fans most remember Billups for.
However, what some of you may have forgotten is that Billups actually suited up for the Knicks for a brief period in time. This was during the second half of the 2010-11 campaign, after the Denver Nuggets sent him to New York in a mid-season trade.
Billups’ time in The Big Apple did not last long, though, with the Knicks opting to waive him after just 21 games played. The Los Angeles Clippers quickly pounced, and signed him to a new deal from the waiver wire not long after.
Another prominent member of the 2004 Pistons was Rasheed Wallace. This is probably why he is most remembered for his stint in Detroit, with his coming-of-age years coming with the Portland Trail Blazers at the early stages of his career coming as a close second.
What you may have completely missed is the fact that Wallace actually played one season for the Knicks. This was during the 2012-13 campaign, and at that time, the former NBA champ was already 38. And get this: he came out of retirement — which lasted two whole years — to sign for New York. The Knicks somehow coaxed him to play one more season, perhaps with a Michael Jordan-esque comeback in mind.
That did not exactly come to fruition for Wallace or the Knicks, with the former four-time All-Star putting up just 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per contest. Wallace pocketed $1.3 million in salary that season, though, so that in itself was already pretty good motivation for him to have another crack at it.
When you speak the name Tracy McGrady, one of the first thing that comes to mind is that memorable 13-point scoring barrage in the span of 33 seconds. He was with the Houston Rockets at that time, playing alongside another NBA legend in Yao Ming. You might also remember McGrady’s high-flying ways during his younger years with the Toronto Raptors, but we’re willing to bet that you probably forgot about that time when he was a Knick.
If you did, then we can’t fault you, since it was a pretty forgettable spell after all. The seven-time All-Star landed in New York after the Rockets pulled the trigger on a mid-season deal during the 2009-10 campaign. He turned out as nothing more than a rental for the Knicks, though, with McGrady opting to walk away from the team as a free agent the following summer.
In just 24 games played for New York, McGrady averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 26.1 minutes per ballgame.
You probably remember how Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was once touted as the next Michael Jordan, right? Well, that was before he suffered a series of career-altering injuries. However, do you remember that he actually once dawned a Knicks jersey? Probably not, right?
Anyway, he did, and his tenure in New York actually lasted for tow and a half seasons. This was during the latter part of the four-time All-Star’s career, and at that point, injuries and a lengthy career had already taken its toll on his body.
In 83 games played for the Knicks, the 6-foot-7 swingman averaged just 8.2 points, 3.5 rebound, and 1.9 assists per contest.
Did you even know that the legendary Dikembe Mutombo once brought his infamous finger-wag to New York? If you do then you certainly know your NBA history.
For those who did not, however, let me inform you the the Hall of Fame big man actually played for the Knicks for a whole season. This was during the 2003-04 campaign, which was a weird time in Mutombo’s career. By the time he hit his late 30’s the four-time Defensive Player of the Year winner began bouncing from team to team, which included five different sides in four years.
One of these teams were the Knicks, where Mutombo averaged 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 23.0 minutes per contest.