A New York Knick talks about basketball, his life, and being cool.
FINALLY back in print!
By L. A. Philiben on Nov 01, 2010
This review is of the new 2010 edition of Rockin' Steady: Rockin' Steady really defies description, but anyone who has ever laid eyes on the original book has never forgotten it. Walt Frazier remains one of the coolest players in NBA history, and this book was written back in 1974 during his days with the Knicks. For a long time, the only way to get this book was to pay a fortune for it on eBay, but now it's back in print, thank god. I'm not sure if "Clyde" was the blueprint for characters like Shaft, but looking at the photos in this book makes you think he might have been. Mink coat, Rolls Royce, a circular bed with a mirrored ceiling - Clyde definitely was stylin' and profilin' back in the day. The subtitle of the book is "A Guide to Basketball and Cool," and you definitely get both. There is tons of interesting insight on guys Walt played with and against, like Earl Monroe, Jerry West, and Pistol Pete, plus good tips and strategies. There is also an equal amount of advice on how to build a wardrobe, how to brush your mustache, how to pick the right girl, how to catch a fly in midair - yes, you read that right - and lots more. It is a wild ride and an amazing piece of NBA memorabilia and a document of 1970s culture. It seems like everything from the original version is here, including the color illustrations and vintage photographs, plus a new foreword by Ira Berkow and a new afterword by Clyde himself. HIGHLY recommended - if you like 70s style or the NBA, you need to own this book.
What cool meant at one time - beautiful and innocent
By J. Wan on Jan 28, 2011
I first started following NBA basketball around the time of the 1970 Knicks. The Knicks of that era were a fantastic team which seemed to be taken from a bad screenplay. You had: 1. Tough gritty veteran who deep down is a soulful guy who had to deal with a lot of racism early in life but who loved education and wanted to get an advanced degree (Barnett) 2. Tough big guy who came up from a blue collar background - also had a pro baseball pitching skill and knew he was lucky to be paid to play. (Debusschere) 3. Smart, quiet Ivy League Rhodes scholar who wanted to play at the highest level (Bradley) 4. Tough center who went to a historical black college, Grambling State, persevering through bad teams and now chasing the dream of a championship on brittle knees (Reed) 5. Slick, savvy smooth point guard from Atlanta who was a true cosmopolitan and loved fashion, music and epitomized 1970's cool. (Frazier) If you had assembled such as squad as your starting five in a movie, fans would be rolling their eyes and yet all of this was real. Walt "Clyde" Frazier was part of this amazing team and he co-wrote with Ira Berkow a book which in many ways defies explanation. It is a book which gives a peek at the life of "Clyde" and also what defined the "Clyde" style - the clothes, accessories, cars, and most of all, the attitude. It was a surprise and remains a surprise from the usual bombastic ego fueled athletic memoirs, which often serve to hack at old opponents and to excuse old shortcomings. Though clearly ego driven, it has a charming innocence about it. Walt Frazier clearly enjoyed being "Clyde" but that enjoyment wasn't at the expense of others - he didn't need an entourage to be "Clyde" and in fact seemed to take delight in being able to be unique and distinctive to strangers. Throughout the book he admits to be bested by other players and only expressed his admiration of when someone else was hot. Even his detail listing of how to groom, dress and act as "Clyde" is done so innocently that one has to smile. He really comes across as trying to be positive and to be helpful. On the Freedarko.com site they note that it is fascinating book that captures a particular time, of a particular New York City, and a team that really bonded. They actually liked and enjoyed each other's company and made great allowances for each other. It was an amazing place, time and situation that are all long gone. These people were all interesting people and not just as jocks. They created a beautiful impression based on teamwork and efficiency. I read the original back in the 1970's at a public library and long sought to own a copy. This reissue is as good as I remember it. It has a new afterword by a 2010 Walt Frazier and it shows a great deal of insight - introspection which is completely absent from most of today's superstars. Michael Jordan is still chasing that chip on his shoulder and tries to compete with anybody and everybody. LeBron James has the ego but lacks the maturity to see that helping others succeed and building something as a team may have rewards beyond individual acclaim. Kobe Bryant has brooding complexity and ambition but can't seem to make that lasting connection with his teammates. Frazier clearly wants to be remembered properly as the great player he was (and makes the point of noting his greatest games and the key stats) but is also aware that his career was only 13 years of his life. His description of how he improved his vocabulary by studying the arts section of the New York Times is related unabashedly as if he were explaining how to throw a bounce pass or shoot a jump shot. Finally it is touching that he noted that his son was doing well and had graduated from an Ivy League school, and he knows that this is just a fond look back, like going through an old photo album with good friends. His parting words describe how he envisions his final days, now rocking steady not in a disco but in a hammock on his home in St. Croix, the ceiling fans being the only fans he has to deal with, the roar of the ocean being the only crowd noise and the cool ocean breeze to remind him of the coolness he once personified. Can't imagine any of the superstars or Dream Teamers ever coming up with an ending like that or if their ghost writer suggested it that they would ever agree to it - they simply lacked that level of depth to their soul.
clyde was the best!
By James Donovan on Jan 06, 2011
I feel lucky to have gotten into watching the Knicks in the magical '69 season as I turned 9. Clyde was the defensive force that I watched so carefully that i learned the "quick snatch steal the ball" move. When he scored 36 with 19 assists in the 7th game, they gave MVP to Willis Reed after he scored 4 points after missing the game before. I was outraged. Nuff said, so was he. Clyde took over when they needed him to, and he snatched that championship in the 1st quarter, and the Lakers never made a move, staying back 15 or more for the whole game. He brought out the Puma Clydes (sneakers, the 1st expensive ones) then, in the early 70's, and by the time I became a freshman at Brooklyn Tech in '74 (right after they won a 2nd championship after losing the year before to the Lakers team that still has a record for consecutive wins that year). 9 out of 10 cool guys wore them, blue suede shoes Elvis would have loved. They replace Pro Keds and another usual, and in NY, you wore these sneakers, about $25 when the lesser ones that always satisfied you were only 10-12 bucks. Ahhhh, Clyde, still the magician. Back in '97 I had a cool black friend down the hall who informed me that you can watch the Knicks, kill the tv voice, and there was Clyde on the radio for each game. And he was divine, making definitive description phrasing that rhymed perfectly each time. They moved him up and made him the Knicks television host - play-by-play has never been as amusing, theatrical and downright on the money when someone slacks off - Knick or opposing player. When the Knicks sent him to Cleveland, I died inside, and didnt watch basketball again until Jordan finally had a team. I took off 10 years, knowing there's never gonna be another Clyde. Oh, yeah, the book. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow it froma friend who'd grabbed it from our Brooklyn library. He had a lot to say, and let us know his style on all, 'cause he had it! Color photos show what he spent his salary on, the best car in the world and many suits, some outlandish, some dazzling, some just look great on his physique because of his build. Clyde was the best and biggest sports star in NY, Tom Seaver and Joe Willie took the backseat to Clyde and they knew it. The money they get now when they play careers without ever playing D like Clyde did each night. With Ewing, they had a great team for him to talk about. Lets hope this team lives up to their start, 'cause they might allow me to hear Clyde each night, and there's nothing like that! I had to buy it again. I still think of Clyde whenever I play, or watch the game. HE WAS BASKETBALL TO ME! JD
A man in complete control of his life
By Peter W. Sibley on Apr 15, 2006
Along with "Wilt; Just Like Any Other 7-foot Black Millionaire Who Lives Next Door," this is among the funniest sports books ever written. In it, we learn, inter alia, how Mr. Frazier prefers to keep the interior of his home ("dark, like a nightclub"), how Mr. Frazier washes his face (alternating hot and cold washcloths), how Mr. Frazier catches flies with his bare hands (illustrations included!) and how Mr. Frazier once caught a full beer glass in mid-fall without spilling a drop. Recommended.
Terrific, unique book by a basketball legend
By Allen Jackson on Nov 26, 2013
Great book by a classy basketball legend. Only mildly dated, and who cares-- I wanted it to relive those times, among other things! Clyde is cool, alright. A wonderful read on a variety of topics! And a beautiful, high-quality volume (as to the paper, photos, binding, dust cover, etc. on this ~2010 version). Recommended highly.
Fun and informative.
By Fdagreda on Jul 16, 2013
This is not your average "How to play basketball" guide book, this is a "How to be like Cooler than Cool Walt" guide book. Very entertaining and easy to read.
By Spike on Aug 23, 2011
Highly recommend this book to any NY Knicks fan or basketball fan in general. Clyde breaks down the fundamentals on AND off the court.
Walt Clyde Frazier at his Best
By Msm on Apr 03, 2011
For fans of Walt Clyde Frazier -- the greatest Knick of all time (sorry Ewing, rings count), the fashion icon, the rhyming magician, the fashion extraordinaire, and the Knicks broadcaster who clearly wishes he was still suiting up -- this is Clyde at his best. Direct, witty, friendly, gregarious, overconfident without necessarily cocky, and always insightful in one way or another The word is "cool," and Clyde Defines it. The pressure of being hailed as a messiah as a New York sports team is far too much for more players, but Clyde (along with, briefly, Joe Namath) lived for it. If there's a better story out there, I have yet to hear it.
By Paul Petralia on Jan 20, 2015
Excellent book. There is no one like Walt Clyde Frazier!