Feb. 25, 2011
When someone calls you a legend, you take it all in. And Harry Gallatin remained humble through the whole experience.
On Wednesday, the New York Knicks celebrated Legends Night at Madison Square Garden. A packed house, who also were honored to view the first-ever game by Knicks newcomer Carmelo Anthony, watched as Gallatin, Dick Barnett, Earl Monroe, Mark Jackson, John Starks, and Allan Houston were honored with a special halftime ceremony.
All six former players were given a ring by Walt Frazier. Their accomplishments were immortalized.
"It was really an event I'll never forget - meeting the others in the other decades," said Gallatin, who is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Gallatin also served as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's first Director of Athletics (1967-1972) and men's basketball coach (1967-1970).
Gallatin, who played for the Knicks from 1948 to 1957 and was dubbed "Harry the Horse," said he learned of the honor about three weeks ago although he's sure others knew before him. "I think a lot of people found out about it through the Internet. I had some of my friends from out of town call and say that should be a fun honor."
Once in New York, Gallatin and his wife, Bev, were given special treatment, including a limousine and a nearby hotel.
"They treated us like royalty. I wasn't used to that," he said.
New York remains a special place for Gallatin who not only played professional basketball with the Knicks but also enjoyed a coaching stint there. "There's only one town like it."
Gallatin said his experience Wednesday left him a little shocked with courtside seats with a face value of $2,000 and an evening dinner in a special MSG suite. The game, Gallatin said, was exciting with Knicks fans getting their first viewing of Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
"The place was alive and loud, and they were calling out `Carmelo.' " he said. "I thought he did real well, and Billups did well too."
After the game, much of the New York media, which Gallatin reported was more than 100 strong, asked questions of current players Amar'e Stoudemire, Billups and Anthony. And they had a few questions for Gallatin, "especially the older reporters who remembered me," Gallatin chuckled.