Bernard King (born December 4, 1956) is an American retired professional basketball player at the small forward position in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played 14 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Washington Bullets. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013. His younger brother, Albert, also played in the NBA during his career.
King at Tennessee
|Born||December 4, 1956|
Brooklyn, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||Fort Hamilton (Brooklyn, New York)|
|NBA draft||1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the New York Nets|
|1977–1979||New Jersey Nets|
|1980–1982||Golden State Warriors|
|1982–1987||New York Knicks|
|1993||New Jersey Nets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||19,655 (22.5 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,060 (5.8 rpg)|
|Assists||2,863 (3.3 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
New Jersey NetsEdit
King attended college at the University of Tennessee and was selected seventh overall in the 1977 NBA draft by the New York Nets, who months later relocated from Uniondale, New York to New Jersey and became known as the New Jersey Nets.
At 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) and 205 pounds, King was an explosive, high-scoring small forward utilizing long arms and a quick release, King was a tremendous scorer, and led the NBA in scoring in the 1984–85 season with 32.9 points per game and was selected twice to the All-NBA First Team and four times to the NBA All-Star Game.
In 1977–78, his rookie season, King set a New Jersey Nets franchise record for most points scored in a season with 1,909, at 24.2 points per game. He would surpass this record with his 2,027-point season in 1983–84, earning the first of his back-to-back All-NBA First Team selections.
King played for the Utah Jazz in the 1979–80 season and averaged 9.3 points per game in 19 games.
Golden State WarriorsEdit
The Jazz traded King to the Golden State Warriors before the 1980–81 season. Over two years, he averaged 21.9 points per game, in his first year playing alongside players such as 1980 NBA All-Star World B. Free, Joe Barry Carroll, and Clifford Ray and 23.2 points per game in his second year with the team. Just before the start of the 1982–83 season, King was traded to the New York Knicks in exchange for Micheal Ray Richardson.
New York KnicksEdit
On a Texas road trip on January 31 and February 1, 1984, King made history by becoming the first player since Rick Barry in 1967 to score at least 50 points in consecutive games. He scored 50 points on 20 for 30 shooting with 10 free throws in a 117–113 Knicks' victory over the San Antonio Spurs on January 31. King followed this with another 50-point performance at Dallas, setting a Reunion Arena single-game scoring record in the process. He scored 11 points in both the first and second quarters and 14 points in both the third and fourth quarters. King drew 13 fouls on Dallas Mavericks defenders, including Mark Aguirre, who fouled out. King shot 20 for 28 from the field with 10 free throws in the 105–98 win over the Mavericks.
The next season, on Christmas Day, 1984, King lit up the New Jersey Nets for 60 points in a losing effort, becoming just the tenth player in NBA history to score 60 or more points in a single game. King had scored 40 points by halftime, and finished the game with 19 of 30 shooting from the field and 22 of 26 from the free throw line.
At the peak of his career, however, King suffered a devastating injury to his right leg while planting it under the hoop attempting to block a dunk by Kansas City King Reggie Theus. The March 23, 1985, injury, which included a torn anterior cruciate ligament, torn knee cartilage, and broken leg bone, required major reconstruction, causing King to miss all of the 1985–86 season. To that point no NBA player had returned to form after such a potentially career-ending injury, surgery, and loss of time.
Rehabilitating completely out of the media spotlight, King drove himself back into competitive shape. Despite averaging 22.7 points per game during his first six games back, he had not recovered his pre-injury explosiveness and was released by the Knicks at the end of the 1987 season.
King used the 1987–88 season to solidify his comeback with the Washington Bullets, then averaged 20-plus points in three consecutive seasons, peaking at 28.4 at age 34 in 1990–91.
New Jersey NetsEdit
After a year-and-a-half hiatus, King returned for an ill-fated 32-game stint with the New Jersey Nets at the end of the 1992–93 season until knee problems forced him to retire from the NBA permanently.
NBA career statisticsEdit
King retired with 19,655 points in 874 games, good for a 22.5 points per game average and number 16 on the all-time NBA scoring list at the time of his retirement.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led the league|
Awards and recognitionEdit
At the age of 24, King won the NBA's Comeback Player of the Year award for his play during the 1980–1981 season with the Golden State Warriors. That year, King averaged 21.9 points per game after having played just 19 games the season before with the Utah Jazz.
On February 13, 2007, Bernard King's number 53 was retired at the halftime of the Tennessee-Kentucky basketball game at Thompson–Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee. His jersey number was the first jersey number retired by the Volunteers, who later retired the number of Ernie Grunfeld, King's former teammate. The late 1970s Tennessee men's basketball team was known as the "Ernie and Bernie Show" (in reference to Grunfeld and King) and is viewed by many as the golden age of UT men's basketball. During an ESPN interview after halftime, King stated he had not returned to the University of Tennessee in more than 30 years, but expressed his sincere appreciation to the university and his plans to return again. His reason for not visiting his alma mater was simply that he had not been asked. King's ceremony punctuated an 89–85 Tennessee victory over the visiting Wildcats.
During the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, a panel of basketball analysts for the TNT network selected Bernard King as one of nominees of the "Next 10", a list of 10 unofficial additions to the NBA's 50 greatest players list in honor of the NBA's 60th anniversary.
King made an appearance in Miami Vice as Matt Ferguson, son of Judge Roger Ferguson (played by Bill Russell), a basketball star with the fictitious Florida Sunblazers in the episode "The Fix". He also appeared in the 1979 movie Fast Break (with Reb Brown).
While playing for the Jazz, King was arrested and then suspended by the NBA for cocaine possession. This was in the same season that his teammate Terry Furlow died in a car accident where the autopsy showed that cocaine was in his bloodstream. On January 1, 1980, he was also charged with multiple counts of forced sodomy, later being convicted for the misdemeanor of "Attempted Forcible Sexual Assault". King took six different lie detector tests claiming that he was so drunk he had no recollection of what had happened that night, passing each test.
- List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career turnovers leaders
- List of individual National Basketball Association scoring leaders by season
- List of National Basketball Association top rookie scoring averages
- List of National Basketball Association players with most points in a game
- Lawrence, Mitch (September 8, 2013). "Basketball Hall of Fame doors finally open for Knicks legend Bernard King". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
- "1977 NBA Draft, First Round". NBA.com. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Hubbard, Jan (February 2, 1984). "King's 50 beat Mavericks, 105-98". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1B, 7B.
- Berkow, Ira (February 2, 1984). "The Incandescent King". New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Goldpaper, Sam (December 26, 1984). "King Scores Knick-Record 60 Points in Loss to Nets". The New York Times. p. D9.
- "Bernard King: Comeback 'defines my career'". newsday.com. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- "Bernard King Retires After 14 Seasons in the NBA". Los Angeles Times. September 3, 1993. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "NBA & ABA Comeback Player of the Year Award Winners". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- University of Tennessee Retires Bernard King's Number Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine @ UTsports.com
- Bernard King speech to Tennessee Tip-Off Club @ UTsports.com
- Legends in the Making Archived December 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, TNT, accessed March 9, 2008
- The Toledo Blade, March 23, 1981, "King Comes Back After Skid to Rock Bottom"
- "» On the Fame of a King Bronx Banter". Retrieved January 10, 2019.