Winning Time: A Bittersweet Trip Down Memory Lane

March 15, 2010

The MSG Demon

As I awaited the debut of Dan Klores’ 30 in 30 production, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks”, I didn’t know what to expect.  Was this going to be a Reggie love fest?  How were the Knicks going to be portrayed?  However, by the end of the documentary, I was thoroughly pleased.

This won’t be an Ebert & Roper type of review, if you saw the documentary, you may or may not agree with my points.   If you didn’t see it, go see it, bottom line.

Few points:

  • Rivalry buildup: Klores sets the table from the start showing how Miller riled up his opponents.  The flops, the theatrics, done with such ease, that by the end of the game, the opponent was mentally defeated.  Watching Starks headbutt Reggie again was great, but seeing the actual events behind was terrific.
  • Spike’s leading role: While I remember each game of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals,  as a 10 year old kid that wasn’t that into the back pages, I had no idea that Spike was the goat of Game 5!  Every NY paper slammed him for antagonizing Reggie’s 25 point, 4th quarter outburst.

    "I'm staying at the Governor's Mansion...in the slave quarters"

  • Nostalgia relived:  Watching this film last night, I realized how much I loved the Knicks back then.  Klores did a fantastic job of showing the spirit of the team and the city.  The hopes we had when we won the ’85 lottery (Welcoming the captain, PE 33), the hard nose coaching style of Pat Riley, the combustible John Starks, the bruising play of Mason & Oakley….and little mention of Charles Smith, which I don’t mind.
  • It was all about WINNING:  An interesting part of the documentary was a mini-clip of Dan Klores and why he named the film “Winning Time”.  The film got its name simply because back in those days, that’s what it was all about, WINNING.  Seeing Reggie in baby tears after the heartbreaking loss of Game 7, ’94, I tried to remember the last time I saw an NBA athlete cry after a loss, and I couldn’t.  And that was Klores’  point; that the game today is lacking the PASSION that existed over a decade ago.  “We were either going to win the game, or win the fight”, “No one comes over the middle”, you just don’t hear that today.
  • Dunk the ball!:  I have to complement Klores for stirring my blood up again.  Watching Reggie erupt in Game 5, ’94 ECF, the feeling I still get when the Knicks clinched Game 7, ’94 ECF, the anger I had towards Reggie when he blatantly pushed Greg Anthony down on the inbounds play in Game 1, ’95 ECSF to tie the game….and of course, the last play of Game 7, when the captain, missed the finger roll.  Painful still…..

    The Captain

Overall I give winning time a 9/10.   1 point short of perfect due to the fact that Reggie gets the upper hand in ’95.  Still, Klores did an excellent job in his research, got the right people to provide insight and brought the rivalry back to life.  Any fans of either team or of Reggie Miller will love it, and those who weren’t will learn something.

Oh, one last thing.  To those who are still riding the ship as we suffer through the D’anphony era, longing for the days of smash mouth, tough, New York basketball, forget it.  After watching the film last night I realized that those Knick teams were special and will never been seen again.  I compare this to back when the Yankees were   ” ‘chip-less ” since 2000.  Fans were longing for the ’96 style of team.  It wasn’t until last season, when the Yanks won that people realized those  days are over and a new era had begun.

So to will be the fate of the Knicks.  We will get back to the promise land….one day…..but that team will have a different identity.  Until then, the lunch pale Knicks led by the icey knees, warrior, will forever be cemented in NY history.



  1. Thanks to 70 MPH winds and the fact that Optimum Cable/Online/Voice f*ckin sucks, I have to regretfully say that I missed this “30 at 30” and I’m sure it was awesome.
    At the same time, I’m kinda glad I missed it because I don’t think I ever want to re-live the frustration of watching Reggie “fix your face” Miller damn near body slamming Greg Anthony. Nor do I ever want to watch Patrick attempting his best George Gervin impression, and failing miserably.
    Thanks for the summary Kimbo, hopefully I can catch a replay sometime this week.

  2. memories in the corner of my mind….. dope movie dope depiction of the Reggie rivalry.. it only reminded me how much I hate him and how I hate Cheryl Miller even more…Spike was the best part of the flick..he kept lying that he had nothing to do with the 12 points in 6 seconds or whatever… I’d like to see a NY-CHI 30 on 30…

  3. u left out the most interesting part…at least to me…
    In Reggie’s first HS start — after riding the pine for most of his under classmen days — he scored 40 points. He left the gym, amped to finally tell his sister — who i had no idea was a far better player than reggie, so much so that he was referred to as cheryl’s sister for most of his life – about how many points he scored, only to find out that in cheryl’s game that same night, she dropped 105 points in the county chip! sick little tidbit of info….

  4. yes it’s only interesting to you. As the admin of TONY Sports, i’m completely biased to all things New York. Thanks you. lol. no that part was great but…you know….

  5. who let Pacer fans in here?? i agree with the admin.. i remember hearing that fact which was nice i guess for a chick to score 105 pts.. but Reggie and his sister could go jump off a cliff

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