04/18/2014 10:01 am ET Updated Apr 18, 2014

Michael Rapaport Made The Must-See Knicks Doc 'When The Garden Was Eden'

The Tribeca Film Festival has debuted its fair share of great sports documentaries in the last few years ("Knuckleball," "Benji" and "Big Shot" among others), and now you can add Michael Rapaport's "When The Garden Was Eden" to the list. The ESPN production, about the New York Knicks championship teams of the 1970s, had its gala premiere at the New York festival on Thursday night, and the hometown crowd -- which included Knicks luminaries such as Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson -- was with the film through every three-pointer and offensive rebound. (Not so many dunks: it was the '70s.)

"Growing up in New York City and being a basketball fan, it was part of the fabric of New York City," Rapaport told HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps in an interview before the film's debut. "They were sort of superheroes. My father would talk about them. You'd hear about them when you'd play ball."

The 1969-70 Knicks were the franchise's first world championship team (fans should undoubtedly remember the Willis Reed game), but the 1972-73 squad may have been even better. As "When the Garden Was Eden" shows, however, the team's title-clinching victory in Los Angeles was barely watched on television in New York due to its late local start time. In fact, former team member Bill Bradley says in the doc that he hadn't seen the actual game until last year because video wasn't previously available.

It's those kind of anecdotes that make "When the Garden Was Eden" a must-watch for Knicks fans (and sports fans in general). ESPN will air Rapaport's film as part of its 30 For 30 series later this year. Watch the director discuss the film with HuffPost Live here.



Tribeca Film Festival 2014