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Stephen A. Smith walks the walk, hears Knicks fans talk the talk

With the New York Knicks tipping off the 2014-15 season with a new president (Phil Jackson, who joined the team in March), new head coach (Derek Fisher), new offense (triangle) and newly re-signed superstar (Carmelo Anthony), ESPN sent Stephen A. Smith onto the sidewalks of New York to feel the pulse of the ‘Bockers backers and bashers.

Smith’s SportsCenter report is running today leading up to the Knicks’ season and home opener against Chicago (tonight, 8 ET, ESPN).

Lifelong Knicks fan Smith was five years old when they last won an NBA title, three seasons after winning their first. Future Bulls and Lakers coaching legend Jackson was a key bench player for the 1972-73 championship team; he missed 1969-70 title season with an injury. As New York turns to Jackson to run the franchise and pursue Madison Square Garden’s long-lost glory, SportsCenter turns to Smith for his perspective on the past, present and potential for Jackson’s Knicks.

The shoot’s New York-based producer Willie Weinbaum was raised four subway stops from The Garden and was nine years old when his dad began taking him to Knicks games regularly, which is what he calls, “that unforgettable ’69-’70 season.”

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