Knicks legend Walt Frazier doesn’t remember making this remark about Michael Jordan in 1984, but he isn’t surprised he did.
During “The Last Dance’’ ESPN documentary premiere Sunday, a snippet showed Frazier opining about Jordan after he was drafted by the Bulls with the No. 3 pick.
“He’s not 7-foot. So he’s not going to carry a team in the NBA,” Frazier said in the decades-old clip.
Frazier’s remark proved errant and gained buzz on social media. The longtime MSG Network broadcaster, who recently turned 75, defended the sentiment and still won’t name Jordan “The GOAT.’’
“Early on, I wasn’t that familiar with him in college,’’ Frazier told The Post in a phone interview Tuesday from his Harlem residence. “Anyone who plays for Dean Smith, he holds them back. Vince Carter, (James) Worthy. You never know the versatility of these guys when they play for North Carolina. He keeps them in a team system. No one knew he was going to do what he did.”
Frazier, who 50 years ago helped lead the Knicks to their first title, still was skeptical six seasons into Jordan’s career, when he had zero rings.
“He broke his foot (his second season), I was like, I don’t know,’’ Frazier recalled. “And he was having trouble and complaining because he couldn’t beat the Pistons (1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90). He was crying he thought the general manager didn’t know what he was doing. That was when I still wasn’t sure if he’d be able to carry a team and make the next step. Then all of a sudden it happened.”
Indeed, Jordan unleashed his fury on the Knicks – with Frazier in the broadcast booth. Frazier says he hasn’t watched the documentary.
“I’m in enough pain with the coronavirus — I didn’t want to watch Jordan,’’ Frazier said.
Asked if he now considers Jordan the greatest of all time, Frazier stopped short.
“I always ask what’s the criteria when you say the greatest ever,’’ Frazier said. “If it’s Superman, it’s Wilt Chamberlain. I have (Kareem) Abdul-Jabbar as a career-leading scorer. Versatility is Oscar Robertson. Winning is Bill Russell. Those are the four guys. Actually I’d say Wilt Chamberlain because when we played in the 70s and flied commercial, you go through the airport and people would say either ‘Are you a Globetrotter or Wilt Chamberlain?’ That’s all the people knew.’’
Frazier also cited rule changes designed to limit Chamberlain, who famously dumped 100 points on the Knicks.
“There were only two players they ever changed the rules for in pro basketball – George Mikan, and Wilt Chamberlain — widening the lane for them,’’ Frazier said. “The two guys they had to neutralize by changing some aspect of the game. If not for Chamberlain, nobody would’ve heard of any of us. I don’t know if there would’ve been an NBA. If not for Wilt and Bill Russell. I don’t know if the NBA would’ve made it.
“I would find it hard to say Mike. Mike is right there with those guys, but if I had to pick, it would be Chamberlain.’’
Frazier is quarantined in Manhattan, afraid to fly to his second home in St. Croix because of fears he couldn’t get back due to the coronavirus. Frazier planned a brief respite to fly back to his Caribbean home after the Knicks’ game in Miami on March 13.
However, the season was suspended March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Frazier flew home with the team from Atlanta.
“I didn’t want to be stuck there,’’ Frazier said. “I’m better off in New York cooling out here.”
“Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine” sports-bar restaurant has shut down – even for takeout. He’s been working out in his house on a stationary bike and with weights, staying his usual fit self.
“Sometimes I get bored but I got stuff at home so I’m working out four times a week,’’ Frazier said. “The players are used to going to the facility.”