Former Knicks guard Dick Barnett has something Phil Jackson doesn’t have — his Knicks jersey retired in the Garden rafters.
But in reflecting on the Zen Master’s failure as Knicks president, Barnett, who wore No. 12, wondered why Jackson never once consulted with him nor another backcourt legend, Walt Frazier, during his futile 3½-year stint as club president.
It was a 1970s championship reunion of sorts Monday at the Museum of Natural History as Barnett, Willis Reed, Earl Monroe and Frazier gathered to help honor former teammate Bill Bradley at the Hospital of Special Surgery’s annual tribute gala.
Jackson, a close confidant to Bradley who lives now in Montana, did not attend. Jackson and Bradley sat together during a handful of Knicks games during Jackson’s presidency.
Bradley has said in the past he was sort of an unofficial adviser to Jackson, but Barnett never heard from the Zen Master despite attending games.
“No, that was one thing he never did do,’’ Barnett said Monday. “He had [team broadcaster] Walt Frazier right there with him and never did that with him, too.”
Asked if it could have helped, Barnett, who holds a Ph.D. from Fordham, quipped, “Let’s put it like this. How could it be any worse?”
The 76-year-old Reed, who revealed he had congestive heart failure in November, flew in from Louisiana for the tribute. Reed attended all three training camps during Jackson’s presidential stint.
Two years ago, Reed told The Post Jackson’s shortcoming was he never could hire a head coach as good as he was. Jackson won 11 titles as head coach with the Bulls and Lakers.
On Monday, Reed reflected, “My disappointment is that when he came here he couldn’t have been the coach. He’s a coach. That’s what he is. No. 1, he’s a coach. Those guys would’ve played real hard for him. As great a career as he had, you just don’t have everything.’’
Barnett attended several games this past season on celebrity row as the Knicks missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season, extending the championship drought to 45 years.
“It’s tough to see the Knicks with the legacy we left continue to struggle through the years,’’ Barnett said. “It’s almost been half a century since the [last] championship [in 1973]. They came close in the 1990s. A [new] coach is one thing. You need to have the talent to make it happen. You need the horses. A whole bunch of things they’re missing, obviously.”
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