Allan Houston is one of the most underrated guards from the ’90s and early ’00s, who’s made his name recognized around the league after joining the New York Knicks. That Knicks squad had an exciting run for a few years when they were among the best teams in a depleted eastern conference. Houston soon became the best scorer on a squad with an aging Patrick Ewing, past his prime Larry Johnson, and Latrell Sprewell. Even though they made it to the finals, they couldn’t beat the Spurs, and eventually, the team went into a rebuilding process.
In an interview for The Players Tribune, Houston talks about his career, time with the Knicks, and what that meant for him personally. He will forever remember the game-winning shot against their arch-rivals at that time, the Heat, but also one thing that will forever stay with him is their pitch to him when he decided to leave the Pistons and sign with the Knicks.
It was none other than Patrick Ewing who called him in the first place and served as a Knicks ambassador in many ways to adequately explain to him their vision for the next couple of years. Then, after they came to New York, they hired an entire suite at St.Regis in Manhattan, where they held a presentation that Houston will forever remember.
I press play, and, all of a sudden … I'll never forget it…. Columbo pops up on the screen. Columbo? Yeah, man … Columbo.
He's looking right into the camera, and he's like, "Hey, Allan! You're the missing piece! We need you in New York. Come play for the Knicks in the Garden!!!" Then I think Spike popped up on the TV next, and it's like….
"Yo, Al … you're the final piece, man!
We need you in New York. You can put us over the top. We're so close. And you're the guy who can get us there. This is the Garden, man. The mecca. Let's do this, Al!!!!!"
There were a whole bunch of other famous people after that. All of them like…. "This team needs you, Allan. Join the family!"
Allan Houston, via The Players Tribune
The Knicks made a significant impact on Houston, and when healthy, he had a considerable effect on the team’s overall success. He stayed with the Knicks for the remainder of his career in 2005. After he retired, he had a few attempts to make it back to the NBA with the Knicks in 2008, but that eventually didn’t work out. Nevertheless, when healthy, he was a great player, a fantastic shooter, and is still considered one of the real Knicks legends.