Dave Stallworth, a key member of the Knicks’ 1970 NBA championship team, died Wednesday night. He was 75.
Stallworth, a 6-7 forward, earned the nickname Dave the Rave as an All-American at Wichita State, leading the Shockers to the 1965 Final Four.
The Knicks drafted him in the first round with the third overall pick in 1965 and he finished second to the Warriors’ Rick Barry in Rookie of the Year voting, averaging 12.6 points.
After a solid second season averaging 13 points, Stallworth suffered a heart attack at age 26 in 1967 and missed the next two seasons.
He returned to the Knicks in time for the title run, playing in all 82 games in the 1969-70 season, averaging 7.8 points per game, and playing a key role in the NBA Finals. With captain Willis Reed missing Game 5 with a knee injury, Stallworth and Dave DeBusschere combined to hold Wilt Chamberlain to four points in the second half in the Knicks’ 107-100 victory. Stallworth scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks erased a 13-point halftime deficit to take a 3-2 Finals lead.
The Lakers won the next game to force Game 7, which of course featured Reed’s legendary appearance at the start of the game.
Stallworth took over for the ailing Reed in the second half as the Knicks won, 113-99, to capture their first NBA title.
“There was no way Reed could play,” Stallworth said after Game 7 in a jubilant Knick locker room. “He was limping so bad. The guy is beautiful, just beautiful.”
Stallworth was part of another key piece of Knicks history in November of 1971 when he was traded along with Mike Riordan to the Bullets for Earl Monroe.