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This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.
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From the beginning, the New York Knicks had to wait for John Gianelli to arrive. As a rookie he was late in reporting to Madison Square Garden for a physical exam before attending training camp and Jimmy Wergeles, the Knicks’ business manager, wondered if the 6‐foot‐10‐inch center somehow had become lost in the confusion of the midtown wilderness. Wergeles dispatched another member of the Knicks’ stiff, Carl Martin, as a searching party of one.
“But how will I know who he is?” Martin said.
Sports of The Times
“How many 6‐foot‐10‐inch guys with curly blond hair,” Wergeles said, “are on the streets around here?”
Minutes later Martin spotted a 6‐foot 10‐inch young man with curly blond hair approaching the Garden.
“John Gianelli,” he called.
“How’d you know who I was.”
His teammates have had to wait longer for him arrive. But near the completion of his third season, John Gianelli finally appears to have asserted himself. As rookie he didn’t have to, because Willis Reed was the center as the Knicks won the National Basketball Association championship for the second time in four years. Last season, with Reed hobbling on an ailing knee, John Gianelli was a less than adequate replacement. Now, with Reed retired, John Gianelli has developed into a more than adequate contributor to the Knicks’ desperate drive for the N.B.A. playoffs.