…Bernard King became a Knickerbocker.
On Friday, October 22nd, 1982, the New York Knicks traded Michael Ray Richardson to the Golden State Warriors for Bernard King. King is well-known for being one of the greatest scorers in the history of the NBA, with a career total of 19,655 points in 874 games. Atlanta Hawks superstar and Hall-of-Famer, Dominique Wilkins, once told John Hareas of NBA.com that, “Bernard King is the only guy that ever scared the hell out of me.” Larry Bird, “I had no chance guarding Bernard.” High praise for such a decorated player (4-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA First Team, NBA scoring champion) that is not in the Hall-of-Fame.
King’s greatest stretch as a Knick came in the 1984 NBA Playoffs, following a season which had King score over 2,000 points and finish second in MVP voting. Curtis Harris of Pro Hoops History looks back at King’s incredible Playoffs run:
“Squaring off with the Detroit Pistons in the first round, King scored more points than any other player in history in a 5-game series with 213. That’s an average of 42.6ppg. And he did it shooting 60% from the field. And with dislocated middle fingers on each hand. And a case of the flu for half the series. The insane stats continue. In Game 2, he reeled off 23 straight points in just 5:30 in the first quarter. In the deciding Game 5 played in Joe Louis Arena at a sweltering 120 degrees, King and Isiah Thomas put on one of the greatest duels in history. King eventually led the Knicks out of Motown with a decisive 44 points in the OT win including a thunderous putback dunk in the extra period.
In Round 2, the Knicks brawled with the Boston Celtics but wound up losing in 7 games. The home team won every game of the series. King’s scoring average for that series was “only” 29ppg and included a 44 point effort in Game 6 to keep New York alive. For the postseason as a whole, King averaged 35/6/3 on 57% shooting.”
This excerpt comes from a piece written by Harris detailing why King should be in the NBA’s Hall-of-Fame, which you can read right here.
So today, thirty years later, we remember the trade that got the Knicks one of their greatest players ever. We do this because we, as Knicks fans, want to take our mind off the barrage of injuries rendering our team terrible. It’s not working.