ESPN premiered a 30 for 30 documentary entitled “When The Garden Was Eden” on Tuesday, which was based on a book of the same name by Harvey Araton that chronicled the 1970s New York Knicks.
One of the more interesting things to come out of it was some never-before-seen footage of Willis Reed getting into a fight with the entire Lakers team from a game played in 1966.
From the New York Times game story by Dave Anderson (via Deadspin):
In the confusion Reed flattened [Darrell] Imhoff, a 6-foot-10-inch, 220-pound center, with a punch over the left eye. [John] Block, a 6-9, 210-pound rookie center, suffered a bloody nose, which turned out to have been fractured.
Imhoff, holding a bloodied towel to his face, lay sprawled in front of the Laker bench for several minutes while the police restored order among a few of the 15,755 spectators who had run onto the court for a ringside view.
Imhoff needed one stitch to close a cut on his left eyelid. LaRusso, who is 6-8 and weighs 225, later admitted that “Reed hit me a couple good ones.” Both were ejected from the game.
What’s interesting is how none of Reed’s teammates seem to come to his aid. But at least one of them has a fairly compelling answer for that question.
When Willis asked teammates why they didn’t help out as he tearing apart the Lakers, pre-PhD Dick Barnett replied, “man, you was winning.”
— Harvey Araton (@HarveyAraton) October 22, 2014