Bernard King – A Retrospective




Last night, I was watching the Knicks/Pistons game on TV when Spero Dedes mentioned the anniversary of a Knicks milestone: 28 years ago, Bernard King scored 50 points in consecutive games. It hadn’t happened in the NBA since 1964.

King was 20 for 23 (10 FTs) and 20 for 28 (10 FTs) from the field. Those are Wilt & Shaq numbers, and sick for a 6’7″ small forward. It got me thinking.   

What I had remembered most about King was his versatility and efficiency as a scorer. He was  impossible to check on the block, and his mid-range game was lethal.

Then I looked at his numbers…mind-blowing. In his five prime years (1980-85), King averaged 25 a game on 56% shooting. To put that in perspective with active players, only Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler have shot over 57% from the field for their career.

Historically, King’s 22.5 ppg on 53% shooting for a career is surpassed only by four players: Wilt, Shaq, Kareem, and Adrian Dantley. All enshrined in, or on their way to, the Hall of Fame.

I’m not here to bash Dantley – he was a really good player and a great scorer. But he was not on King’s level as a basketball player. Yet King is not in the HOF.

Nobody in today’s NBA compares. I first thought Carmelo, but he’s not as efficient. Same with Pierce. Usually, you can compare some of today’s best with a throwback.

Bernard King stands alone.


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7 Responses to “Bernard King – A Retrospective”

  1. Jeff C. Says:

    Absolutely correct.

  2. Mike M. Says:

    Carmelo is the closest thing we have seen. Major difference between the two is Melo has fallen in love with his jumpshot. King would take advantage of his ability on the block and would destroy smaller defenders, and lived at FT line. Melo has stretches when he realizes he can do that and he is virtually unguardable when he positions himself on the block. His desire to prove to himself or the league that he has a jumpshot will keep Jim from being as lethal and efficient as King. Bullets have been looking for the next Bernard King for 30 years.

    • trevcrovitz Says:

      Your analysis is spot on. Melo is also lacking King’s work ethic and will. King won playoff games by himself. I expected Melo to be a more polished player by now – it’s 9 yrs since that Nat’l Champ run.

      Thanks for reading, appreciate your comments.

  3. Bobby B Says:

    Hey Trev. I don’t follow hoops the way you do, but all I can really remember about King was BAD KNEES! I meet him once at a Giant Food Store in Bethesda, MD. Nice guy. Don’t know if he belongs in the HOF. Too bad about his bad knees. Wonder how much better his career would have been if he didn’t have to fight all those injuries.

    • trevcrovitz Says:

      Bobby – he BELONGS. He had one devestating knee injury, but four yrs later he was averaging 28 a game at age 34.
      Thanks for readin, sir, and I appreciate the comments

  4. Drazen Petrovic – A Retrospective « The Sports Cult Says:

    […] good company. Like Bernard King before him, he is incomparable with any of today’s shooting guards. He was in his prime when he died; […]

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