Posts Tagged ‘New York Knicks’

Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie Brown

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

by Chuck Modiano

Part III of Bernard King: The NBA’s Invisible Genius

“Hubie, do I have the right to take the ball myself?” – Bernard King

For Knick and Golden State Warrior fans, King’s 1984 rise from star to sublime was not surprising or meteoric. Don’t call it a hot streak, Bernard had been there for years.

Lost Prime (1980-1983):

During King’s first three years in the NBA (1977-79), his only barrier was himself (see alcoholism and drugs). During his next 3.5 prime years (1980-83), his barrier was only 33 minutes and 16 shots per game. Bernard the Warrior needed a sacrificing point guard like Tiny Archibald or Dennis Johnson, but he got gunslinger World B. Free[1].  Bernard the Knick needed a coach like Phil Jackson, but he got superstar stopper Hubie Brown[2]. King should have been treated like Michael Jordan (23 shots per game), but until 1984 never got the scorer’s respect of Monta Ellis.

Lost Warrior (1980-1982): 

Outside of Golden State, Bernard rarely gets credit for two fantastic seasons with The Warriors. Despite being led the previous year by Robert Parish [HOF 2003], the team was pitiful, and Parish was traded. King was named “Comeback Player of the Year” in his first year, made the All-Star team in his second, and shot an astonishing 58% over both. Each year, the Warriors missed the playoffs by a single game. Why? King never took the most shots (see Free). Just how good was Warrior King? When San Francisco columnist Bruce Jenkins made up his all-time Warriors team a few years ago, his forwards were Rick Barry and Bernard – not Chris Mullin [HOF 2012].

“Bernard turned the Warriors franchise around. We went from 24 wins in ’80 to a winning record in ’82, the year Bernard became a starter.” — Pete Newell [HOF 1979]

Lost Knick (1982-1983):

When it comes to squeezing every last drop from mere mortals, Hubie Brown is a coaching genius. When it comes to teaching the game, there is none better. When it came to stopping superstars, he made Dean Smith’s North Carolina teams seem like the Showtime Lakers. Our greatest strength often doubles as our greatest weakness, and Brown was a unwavering “system coach” who called every single play, walked the ball up, and refused to budge from his signature 10-man rotation which he played every quarter. Yes, every quarter. What if Bernard was on fire? Too bad. Here comes Louis Orr!

“[King] was absolutely devastating in transition, which made it such a shame that he was stuck on Hubie’s plodding Knicks teams for those peak years.” – Bill Simmons, ESPN Writer

How Louis Orr Scored 100 Points:

On the day David Stern became the NBA commissioner, Bernard completed his famous back-to-back 50 point games. With two Knicks sidelined, Brown was finally forced to abandon his 10-man rotation, and Bernard dropped his 100 point combo meal on 40-58 shooting (note: Wilt’s shot 36-63 on his 100).  Had Bernard’s back-up Louis Orr not caught the flu, 50-50 would have never happened. Had Orr caught mono, the record books would have been shredded. King’s flu in Game 5 of The Showdown in Motown has become part of his legend, but Louis Orr’s flu is also a reminder of legend lost. Golden State and Knick fans knew that 1984 could have been happening for years. And now Hubie Brown knew: some birds you just can’t cage.

“The 50-50 games were the turning point as far as being noticed”.  – Bernard King

The Turning Point (January 1984):

Bernard began January 1984 by being named Knick captain and ended it with a 50 point game. While both dates are significant, the biggest turning point came in between. On January 13th, King took only nine shots – the Knicks fourth close loss that season where King had no more than nine shot attempts. The very next night King would score 42 points on 18-26 shooting, and Bernard would never shoot less than 10 times again (save injury). After 3.5 prime years, King would finally receive 40 minutes and 20 shots. January 14 is also the very same day when King’s 30 points @60% for 40 games was born. The turning point wasn’t 50-50, it was 40-20.  Bernard didn’t really change — Hubie did. But there would be flashbacks.

“Put Bernard back in the game!” and “Get the ball to Bernard!”
– This author and 10,000 fans at my first Knick game in 1983

Hubie’s Last Stand (April 1984)

Scene:           1984 Playoffs, Knicks vs. Pistons, Knicks Huddle
Act:                 #5 – The deciding game of historic series
Time:              36 seconds left in regulation, Knicks ball
Score:             Knicks 112, Pistons 111
Context:         Bernard King is Shredding History

This is crazy. This is crazy. This is crazy. Via Dennis D’Agostino’s must-read “Garden Glory”, let Bernard tell it:

“We were in a timeout, and the play was designed for Billy Cartwright. I’ve never questioned the coach’s authority… You just don’t question the coach. The coach is the coach, and you’re a player. But Hubie was designing a play for Billy Cartwright, and the game was on the line…. Well, I had a problem with that [King laughs.] Here I am playing with two dislocated fingers and I’ve averaged 40 points a game for five games, so if the game is on the line, give me the ball. That’s always been my history as a player, so I couldn’t understand in that intense moment how the play could be designed for anyone else.”

So… I said: ‘Hubie, do I have the right to take the ball myself?’ And he didn’t answer me. Then I spoke up even louder, ‘Hubie! Do I have the right to take the ball myself?’ I was emphatic. Finally, he looked up at me and said, ’Yeah’.  Because what I was saying… was ‘Hubie, I’m gonna break your play’. But I had to ask first; I’m not the type of guy to break a play in my professional career. I always did what was designed for me to do, so I had to ask the question before I could actually do it.”

These were Bernard King’s working conditions.

Imagine if Michael was denied that chance to shoot over Craig Ehlo? Would that ever happen? With Jordan gone in 1994, Scottie Pippen [HOF 2010] was averaging just 24 points on 41% shooting in his playoff series when coach Phil Jackson called the last shot for Toni Kukoc. Pippen famously refused to go back in the game.

In contrast, the surreal huddle exchange reveals both a phenomenal handling by Bernard, and a glaring flaw within Hubie. But it also arguably exposes a lesser flaw within King. For Bernard – who learned his work ethic and coach deference under legendary Brooklyn take-no-crap disciplinarian Gil Reynolds [see Genius Explained] — it took King until that moment in that huddle in that series to respectfully demand to be treated like the superduperstar he had been for years.

When Phil Jackson joined the Bulls, Michael Jordan was just a little less deferential. Jordan said:

“He’s the coach, I’ll follow his scheme, but I don’t plan to change my style of play. I’m sure everything will be fine if we win, but if we start losing, I’m shooting.”

Just how long would Jordan have lasted in Hubie’s 10-man rotation?

Today, Bernard and Hubie have a great mutual respect for one another, and Brown often speaks with great reverence for King’s “professionalism” and how he “never broke a play”. But what if King didbreak more plays? What if he was a little less professional, and a little more like Mike? Would his teams have won more games?  When does “playing the right way” become the wrong way?

One clue is when your star is shooting 60% and can’t be stopped. For younger Knick fans, it is when coach Mike D’Antoni asks Carmelo Anthony just to “fit in” as stretch spot-up shooter while he hands Jeremy Lin the keys to the Knicks. Had Anthony just went along to get along, he and the Knicks would likely not be flourishing today. Bernard’s growth cannot be separated from Brown changing, and  Carmelo’s can’t be separated from D’Antoni leaving (and Mike Woodson arriving). Sometimes the boss is wrong.

That Game 5 playoff timeout huddle has been the story of Bernard King’s career. He has been kindly asking for permission for his genius to be recognized ever since, and this week the Hall of Fame looked up and said “yeah”.

Oh yes. Back to Game 5.

After the timeout, King took the pass, demonstratively waved off Bill Cartwright from the post, and went down the left side for one of his patented baseline jumpers for his 40th point. Isiah’s subsequent 3-pointer would now only send the game into overtime instead of sending the Knicks home.

“In that 4th quarter and into the 5th quarter, Bernard King would just not let us lose”
– Hubie Brown

 

Chuck Modiano of POPSspot, for War Room Sports

 

I.   “Who is Bernard King”: The NBA’s Invisible Genius
II.   
Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah, Larry, and History 
III.  Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie Brown
IV.   Genius Explained: Bernard King vs. Youtube (coming Wednesday)
V.     The King of Peers: Bernard King vs. Media (coming Thursday)
VI.   The Jordan Rules: Bernard King vs. Michael Jordan (coming Monday)

 

Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah, Larry, and History

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

by Chuck Modiano

Part II of Bernard King: The NBA’s Invisible Genius

“What he did to us I had never seen before. We caught him in the middle of a three-year stretch where he was playing better than any small forward in the history of the game.” –Isiah Thomas

Bernard King — The NBA’s Invisible Genius —  is also playoff legend. In his first two seasons, he led the Knicks to back-to-back first round upsets. In his very first Knick playoff game against the Nets in 1983, King scored 40 points on only 21 shots, and when he took at least 20 shots he scored 40 points seven times in eleven chances. Only once did Bernard exceed 27 shots. His two epic 1984 series against the Pistons and Celtics caught the NBA nation by storm, but the local explosion began in January.

King’s 40 game-stretch of 30 points on 60% shooting highlighted by back-to-back 50 point games was the result of an offensive genius who was finally given permission to display his artwork [see Genius Contained]. At a time when ESPN was covering rugby, King’s 40 game stretch got little attention, but his legendary post-season work is well-known. Instead, King’s playoff legacy has been hijacked.

Isiah Hijacks Bernard in 94 Seconds: You have seen the video clip. Isiah Thomas puts on a 94-second performance for the ages by sending the deciding game into overtime. Even though Isiah lost the duel (44-35), game (127-123), and series (3-2), he still won the war. Today, “16 points in 94 seconds” trumps Bernard’s historic series average of “42 points on 60% shooting”. Only Jerry West and Michael Jordan have ever surpassed 40 points in a playoff series, but neither could approach 60% shooting.

“I’ve never seen any one player dominate a team like King. There is no way to stop him.” —Dave Bing [HOF 1990]

Michael Hijacks Real Flu Game: What if you wrapped up the “Flu Game” by Jordan, “The Duel”  by Bird and Wilkins, and added a dash of Willis Reed? Then you get Bernard battling Isiah in Game 5 with a 102 fever and mangled hands that were getting freeze-sprayed throughout the game. In Jordan’s famous 1997 “Flu Game”, he scored 38 points on 48% shooting. In Bernard’s Flu/Duel/Freeze-Spray Game he topped Jordan with 44 points on 65% shooting. There would be no pictures of an old-school King bending over or being held up by his teammates — only his legendary game face. Jordan’s game ranks #2 in ESPN’s 25 best playoff games since 1978. King missed the cut. On to the Celtics.

“He had splints on both of his middle fingers, both dislocations… Bernard is ill and can’t come to the shootaround. They’re feeding him intravenously… Now, we can’t hit him on the break because he can’t dribble with the pain in his hands. So we’re thinking, how the hell are we going to win with this guy?”  – Hubie Brown [HOF 2005, Contributor]

Celtics Hijack Bernard: Watch the tapes: they literally hijacked him. They fouled him. They smacked him. They mugged him. You don’t think those Celtics played rough? Watch tape of Larry Bird leveling Bernard just a couple of years earlier. Lebron couldn’t relate, and Kevin Durant would snap in two. Now watch Larry just walk away. Not even a “my bad”. Watch Bernard dust himself off. No problem. That was basketball in the 1980’s before sports media turned every minor NBA scuffle into The Watts Riots.

“One guy would foul you, and the foul is already called, and then two other guys would hit you.  And that’s a fact.”  – Bernard King

 The Bitch Is Back: Before and during the series, those Celtics talked smack:

“He ain’t getting 40 on us. We’re going to stop the bitch.” — Cedric Maxwell [Retired Jersey, 2003]

“They’re in the grave, and we’ve got the shovel in our hands”.  — Kevin McHale [HOF 1999]   

King would drop 43 and 44 in Games 4 and 6 and bring some humility back to Boston for Game 7:

“Nothing Max and I tried to do worked.” – McHale

“We held him. We pushed him. We were draped all over him. The guy was just unreal.” — Maxwell

King vs. Hall of Fame East Wing: The 1984 Celtics played four Hall-of-Famers in their prime and their 5th best was a former NBA Finals MVP [Maxwell]. All of Bernard’s fellow starters would have been Celtic back-ups. That’s not conjecture. Guard Ray Williams — the Knicks third leading scorer at 15 points per game – became a Celtic backup the very next season and averaged only 6.4 points. Larry Bird couldn’t make Ray better.

In Game 7, Bird would turn in a stellar 39-point triple-double, King would get leveled early by Robert Parish, and the Celtics would move on and beat The Lakers for the championship. Bird’s Game 7 and series was treated by media as proof of Bird’s edge over King while few asked: “What if Bird and King swapped teammates?”

 “The best thing about having that series over was saying goodbye to Bernard King… If they had gotten by us, they would have had a good shot at a championship” – Larry Bird

King vs. Bird: Before Lebron James was born, Bernard King and Larry Bird were raising the small forward position to new heights. Both were named Most Valuable Player in a split-decision: the media chose Larry and players and coaches chose Bernard [see King of Peers]. So it was fitting they would meet. Well, they sort of met.

For seven games Bernard can be seen chasing Larry all over the court while King received tag-team beat-downs from Maxwell and Mchale.  Bird was left to “guard” an aging Truck Robinson, and float like a free safety.  Anyone who has ever played a hard game of pick-up basketball – let alone a grueling NBA series — understands this advantage.  Often missing from media analysis was how Bird’s hall-of-fame teammates made him better – especially defensively [see King of Peers]. Few asked: “What if Larry had spent his energy guarding Bernard?”

“I didn’t guard Bernard. I knew I had no chance guarding Bernard.” – Larry Bird

King vs. “The Winner Myth”: In their first five seasons, Wilt, Michael and Lebron all put up prolific numbers – except for wins. During his only five seasons without Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson, same goes for Kareem.  Kobe after Shaq had a 3-year hangover before help came. ALL these legends had losing seasons, and only once during those 23 seasons was 50 wins exceeded. As for the Knicks, Willis Reed and Walt Frazier were definitely winners (must read: When the Garden Was Eden), but they needed each other. In their six seasons apart, the Knicks never had a winning record.

“At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career.” – Lebron James

King vs. Ewing’s Ghost: Patrick Ewing is also a winner and owns a phenomenal unsung achievement: his Knicks advanced in the playoffs for eight consecutive years. The handful of legends to match this all had superior teammates. Sadly, King and Ewing would only start one game together — the 1991 All-Star Game. Bernard’s astonishing return to All-Star status with a new knee, new team, and new game (post-up to face-up) came six years later. Think about that.

Just how many Knick championships were lost during that time? In his senior year at Georgetown, a swarmed Ewing opened up the floor for his teammates while averaging only nine shots per game –fourth most on the team. We already know how close King came with Billy Cartwright as his #2. With Bernard, Ewing gets to keep his Russellesque role, and both men experience career firsts: single-man coverage. Today, HBO would be running Knick documentaries called “When the Game was Theirs”. After finally getting The Hall call today, King reflected:

“The only regret I have is that [Ewing] and I didn’t team together. Because I believe in my heart of hearts that we would have won a championship.”. — Bernard King

 

Chuck Modiano of POPSspot, for War Room Sports

I.   “Who is Bernard King”: The NBA’s Invisible Genius
II.   
Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah, Larry, and History 
III.  Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie Brown
IV.   Genius Explained: Bernard King vs. Youtube (coming Thursday)
V.     The King of Peers: Bernard King vs. Media (coming next Friday)
VI.   The Jordan Rules: Bernard King vs. Michael (coming next Saturday)

 

Who is Bernard King?: The NBA’s Invisible Genius

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

by Chuck Modiano

G – Magic 
G – Isiah
F – Larry
F – Bernard
C – Kareem/Moses

No last names are necessary.

These men make up the 1st team All-NBA stars in Bernard King’s last two Knick seasons before he blew out his knee in March 1985 – the same year he led the NBA in scoring. This is the company King kept.

In 1984, King would produce a half-season scoring tear never duplicated in NBA history; upset the Pistons in the greatest playoff series performance in NBA history, and almost single-handedly upend the 1984 Celtics — one of greatest teams in NBA history.  In 1984, Bernard could be found in dated Converse commercials, rap songs, and Sports Illustrated covers which bowed to “His Royal Highness”.

With an unstoppable Carmelo Anthony balling like its 1984, and reports of Bernard’s induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, The Invisible King will receive another bow this week.

While starving King fans will naturally celebrate, something just isn’t right. King’s 15 minutes of crumbs come too little, too late – 15 years to be exact.

We could only hope this week will help jump-start the only real NBA debate. Bernard’s rightful place in the Hall of Legends.

Where did The King stand amongst the greats? Let’s ask them

“Bernard King was the toughest matchup of my career. And I say that from the heart.” – Julius Erving [HOF 1993]

“Bernard King… is the best forward in the league, hands down”.  – Larry Bird [HOF 1998]

“We are just in awe of Bernard” — Isiah Thomas [HOF 2000].

Now consider that Larry and Isiah’s praise came before the 1984 playoffs and epic Showdown in Motown where

KING AVERAGED 42 PLAYOFF POINTS ON 60% SHOOTING!

No other player in NBA history has ever averaged over 40 playoff points on 60% shooting in the playoffs – not Wilt in ‘62, not Jerry in ‘65, and not Michael in ‘88.  Not Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, or Lebron.

Only Bernard King.

King also did it while battling Isiah, the flu, and mangled hands.

Afterwards, King was asked about his “hot streak”. Bernard asked back:

“At what point is it no longer considered just a roll?”

Answer: The rest of your life Bernard. The rest of your life.

King’s perceived eruption on a national stage was no hot streak.

What happened right before it was even more historic, but never documented until now:

IN 1984, KING AVERAGED 30 POINTS ON 60% SHOOTING FOR 40 STRAIGHT GAMES! [1]

Lebron and Carmelo, please read that again.

No other player in NBA history has likely ever matched this half-season stretch [2].

In the playoffs, the unstoppable King simply took more shots. That’s all.

For the few mesmerized souls who watched those games on WWOR Channel 9, King’s “30@60for40” validates that we aren’t suffering from nostalgia gone wild.

Bernard King was who we thought he was.

Unlike Knick legends Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed, no one more than Bernard transforms grown Knick fans into babbling children, gets stuffy 50 year old accountants to jump around like Spike Lee, and elicits reactions of: “I swear I saw Jesus in shorts”. No, not “Black Jesus” ala Earl Monroe’s other nickname — just “Jesus”.

Truth be told, here is what many Knick fans in bars swear to this very day: at his pre-injury peak Bernard King was a better small forward than Larry Bird and a greater scorer than Michael Jordan.

If that sounds crazy to you, please consult his peers again:

“I have never feared anybody that I’ve played against – Bird, Magic, Doctor, Michael – and I respect and love all of those guys… Bernard King is the only guy that ever scared the hell out of me.”  – Dominique Wilkins [HOF 2006]:

Listen to Dominique. Few in media will publically utter such words for fear of ridicule or straight-jacket. But we are not the crazy ones.

It is the rest of the sports universe that has gone insane.

Unless long dead, there is no other athlete in any sport whose gap between greatness and recognition is larger — even after this week.

The humiliations are endless.

Will Bernard make the Hall of Fame this year? Should King have made the NBA’s 50 greatest players list? Will the Knicks finally retire his iconic #30 jersey?

The questions themselves demean NBA history. What about media?

In February, Lebron had six straight games of 30 points on 60% shooting, and ESPN.com lost their efficient minds, but no mention of King. Last year ESPN issued its 25 greatest playoff performances since 1978, and no King again. Sorry B, your 42 @60% and legendary Game 5 just weren’t dominant enough.

In 1984, The New York Times closely chronicled King’s nuanced brilliance in “Mysterious Moves” and “Never a Knick Like Him””, but on the 25th anniversary of that magical season, another small forward stole the show with a 10,000 word profile: Shane Battier:  “The No-Stats All-Star”.

What about the greatest player in Tennessee history, half of the famed Bernie and Ernie Show, and legendary Kentucky killer? When Kentucky coach John Calipari told his 2010 team that Bernard was talking pre-game trash in Tennessee’s locker room, the youngsters responded:

“Who is Bernard King?”, ”What number is Bernard King?”, and  “I’m guarding him?”

Ouch!

How did we get here?

Is there some vast hide-King conspiracy? Not quite, but corporate interests have reduced the NBA’s Golden Era to “Magic vs. Bird”, and lesser victims include Kareem, Julius, Moses, Isiah, and the great small forward of the 1980’s.

Bernard’s knee injury alone doesn’t explain it either. No one adds up career stats for Sandy Koufax, Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, or Bill Walton. We know what happened to them.

Reasons for King’s vanishing includes playoff-lore hijackings by Isiah, Larry, and Michael [see II: Genius Unchained]; his unspectacular style, his early-career substance abuse, his forgotten Warrior years, his teammates, and his plodding coach Hubie Brown [see III. Genius Contained].

It also involves a dysfunctional Hall of Fame and sports media largely incapable of recognizing historic greatness without historic teammates. Despite being voted Most Valuable Player by their peers, King (1984), young Michael (1989), and Lebron (2006) were all denied those awards by media, and had their status as “winners” questioned. Where players see lack of support, media perceives lack of maturity, but only a lack of imagination could deny King as champion beside Patrick Ewing [see V: The King of Peers].

King’s past has been forgotten, a healthy future rarely imagined, but most of all, his present genius was never fully realized too far beyond his own peers, local fans, and a few journalists [3].

Bernard’s game was historically unique, but he often gets lumped into a sea of history’s high-volume scoring forwards. While The Tennessee Terror stormed on the NCAA scene with 42 points in his very first game as a freshman, his truer legacy can be found in his nation-leading 62% shooting.

Lebron James is receiving great credit for shooting 56% this year, but King shot 56% over a 5-year pre-injury prime (1980-85) and did it without any all-star teammates. The playoffs are where shooting percentages go to die (see Karl Malone), but King shot a stunning 58% in 18 Knick playoff games. Only the greatest ones maintain accuracy against playoff defense — our very best test for “unstoppability” across eras.

King also defied every selfish scorer stereotype. He was not a one on one player, never needed isolations, never took bad shots, and did it all within the game’s flow. He was a scoring scientist whose quick release, midrange mastery, and disciplined shot selection have gone the way of Kareem’s skyhook [see IV: Genius Explained].

King also suffered from a pre-Jordan era where it was thought impossible to score like Mike, but win like Magic. If Jordan is any indication, Bernard was too unselfish. Jordan had more athleticism, style, and shot attempts, but not accuracy [see VI: The Jordan Rules].

Today, Bernard is mostly remembered for his 60 points on Christmas Day, and scoring 50 points on back-to back nights in 1984. Mr. Hot Streak has now become Mr. Hot Game, and The King of Efficiency has been largely reduced to Jamal Crawford – a career 41% chucker.

Before Lebron’s February outburst, the last great scoring streak came from Kobe Bryant in 2004. Back then, Scoop Jackson tried to educate the youth when he asked the obvious:

“What’s up with the love? [Bernard] had scoring stretches that lasted seasons, not just games.”

Jackson continued:

“He was a genius interrupted… The universal love that evaded his career was found scrolled inside a book penned by his peers.”

Jackson’s question was ignored, so a decade later the kids want to know:

“Who is Bernard King?”

Have a seat son and move over Mr. Battier, King’s invisible genius must be explained.

II.   Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah and Larry (coming Tuesday)
III.  Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie (coming Wednesday)
IV.   Genius Explained: Bernard King vs. Youtube (coming Thursday)
V.     The King of Peers: Bernard King vs. Media (coming next Monday)
VI.   The Jordan Rules: Bernard King vs. Michael (coming next Tuesday)

Or you can always just ask his peers:

Man, Bernard King, he was the truth.”  — Bob McAdoo [HOF 2003]

 

Chuck Modiano od POPSspot.com, for War Room Sports

[1] Beginning on January 14, King scored 1219 points (482-808) over the next three months spanning 40 regular season games (ending right before regular season’s final meaningless game before the playoffs)

[2] It is highly unlikely that King’s 40 games of 30 points on 60% shooting has been duplicated – even when factoring eFG. The highest FG% for a 30 PPG season is Kareem Abdul Jabbar who scored 32 points on .577 shooting in 70-71 and an incredible 35 points on .574 shooting in ’71-’72. Adrian Dantley also scored 30.3 points on 57% shooting in ’81-’82.

[3] Many journalists have helped keep King’s memory alive. Special thanks to Ira BerkowDennis D’Agostino, Bobbito Garcia and Ali, Alan Hahn, John Hareas, Scoop Jackson, Bruce JenkinsBill Simmons, Dave Zirin, and others.

Ronnie Brewer of the New York Knicks in The War Room

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Ronnie Brewer Visits The War Room!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

New York Knicks shooting guard Ronnie Brewer will be in The War Room this Thursday, October 25th to discuss the upcoming NBA season, his thoughts on his new team, playing in “The Big Apple”, the Ronnie Brewer Foundation, and more!

Tune in Thursday, October 25th at 6pm ET to hear our conversation with Ronnie!  To tune in, go to www.WarRoomSports.com and click the “Listen Live” button…or dial 323-410-0012 to listen LIVE by phone.

In the meantime, check for Ronnie Brewer on Twitter @RonnieBrewerJr, check out his Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/RonnieBrewerJr, and check out his website at RonnieBrewerJr.com.

You should also join the War Room Sports Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WarRoomSports and follow us on Twitter @WarRoomSports!

Finally, if you own an Android phone or tablet…an I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Pod, please go to your Google Play and/or App Store and download the FREE War Room Sports mobile app!  It’s the VERY BEST way to stay up on all of our media content from one central location!

Securities Guards: Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

By Aquil Bayyan

I would like to take the time to talk about the smartest backcourt in the history of the NBA.  That backcourt, you may be wondering, is none other than the backcourt of the 2011-12 New York Knicks.  Now we have all been inundated with the media attention surrounding Jeremy Lin who came from obscurity (or from “Bolivian”, as Mike Tyson would say) and catapulted to super stardom in a matter of 7 NBA games.  What has been highlighted about Jeremy Lin is the fact that he is a graduate of Harvard University (currently ranked #1 academically by many collegiate ranking publications) with a degree in Economics.  It seems as if he was well on his way to working on Wall Street, becoming an Economics professor, working for the Federal Reserve, or becoming a consultant.  

Jeremy Lin’s starting backcourt mate, who is also in his second year playing in the NBA is Landry Fields, who happens to be a graduate of Stanford University (currently ranked #5 academically by many collegiate ranking publications) with a Communications Degree.  If we look through the history of the NBA, I do not think we can find a backcourt that hailed from such highly rated tier 1 academic institutions.  It seems that the collective IQ of the Knicks’ backcourt has translated to success on the court by winning 9 of their first 10 games as the Knicks primary backcourt.  On the economic side of things, Jeremy Lin’s recent success has caused the New York Knicks internet sales to increase by 3000% and he is sure to get a raise on his $700,000 salary when he becomes a Free Agent at the end of the season.  

I have found irony in the fact that Harvard has been ranked in the Top 25 College Basketball Polls for much of the NCAA season before recently dropping out of the Top 25.  I wonder how much Harvard basketball coach Tommy Amaker used the fact that a former Harvard basketball player made it to the NBA while he was on the recruiting trail.  It seems that the basketball talent pool at Harvard has increased significantly and may be a force to be reckoned with for a while, the way the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University have done in the past.  With less than 30 games left in the NBA season, let’s see if the academic resumes of the Knicks’ backcourt help them make it to the playoffs this year and into the second round.

Aquil Bayyan of The War Room, for War Room Sports

Malik Rose Drops by The War Room!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Former Drexel Dragon/San Antonio Spur/New York Knick and current color commentator for the Philadelphia 76ers Malik Rose will be in The War Room this Thursday, February 9th to discuss his NBA career, some pressing NBA topics, and his transition from NBA baller to NBA announcer!

Tune in Thursday, February 9th at 6pm ET to hear our conversation with Malik!  To tune in, go to www.WarRoomSports.com and click the “Listen Live” button…or dial 323-410-0012 to listen LIVE by phone.

In the meantime, join the War Room Sports Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WarRoomSports and follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/WarRoomSports (@WarRoomSports)!

Finally, if you own an Android phone or tablet…an I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Pod, please go to your Market and/or App Store and download the FREE War Room Sports mobile app!  It’s the VERY BEST way to stay up on all of our media content!

Monta for Iggy???

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

By Brandon Pemberton

This morning I wake up to check my email and I come across a report by Mark J. Miller of Yahoo sports (http://goo.gl/YsEgH) saying that there are strong rumors going around that the Golden State Warriors would be willing to trade guard Monta Ellis to the Philadelphia 76ers for forward/guard Andre Iguodala.   ESPN’s and former NBA point guard Mark Jackson was named head coach last night and the Warriors are looking to make changes to their franchise.  The trade makes some sort of sense for both teams and I’ll tell you why from my point of view.

The Warriors started a talented backcourt of Ellis and 2nd year point guard Stephen Curry, and they were effective offensively.  But their lack of size and defensive ability was a hindrance all season.  Both of them are only 6’2”-6’3” and teams would use their bigger guards to post up and put them in pick and roll situations.  A trade for Iguodala would give the Warriors a bigger wing player to go alongside Curry and a legit defender that this team desperately needs.  Golden State plays an up-tempo type of basketball and Iguodala would be the perfect fit.

The Sixers lacked a legit number one scoring option this season and because Iguodala was the highest paid player, most Sixers fans thought he should be that.  But he’s not, and he caught hell during his career here after he signed that big contract a few years ago, for not developing into the player the Sixers thought he would.  Monta Ellis would give the Sixers a legit scoring option on the perimeter and go to guy.  Ellis has averaged 24.5 ppg over the last two seasons, but has the tendency to take shots early in the shot clock and makes no effort on the defensive end.  He also has three years left on a contract paying him $11 Million per year.

I’m in favor of moving Iguodala for sure, but I don’t want another big contract back in return (like Rudy Gay).  Monta Ellis is a good player, but is he good enough for the Sixers to avoid being a 7 or 8 seed yearly, and make it out of the first round of the playoffs?  The right medley of front office decisions can take you from a laughing stock to a game away from the conference finals (check out the Grizzlies), and even though the Sixers will have to deal with the Miami Heat for the next five years, along with the Bulls and Knicks, they need to make progress.

I’m all about winning it all, not making lateral moves to just stay in the middle of the pack or stay afloat.  The way the NBA is currently structured, the only way to get out of purgatory is to dump salary and/or get lucky in the NBA lottery and make the right draft pick.  The Cleveland Cavaliers have a $14 Million trade exception they can use and if I were the Sixers, I would try my best to ship Iggy’s ass there.  But hey, I’m not the General Manager.  I’m just tired of the circle of mediocrity this franchise has displayed since the trip to the Finals in 2001.  It has been a damn decade and it has to stop.

Brandon Pemberton of Brandon on Sports, Blogger for War Room Sports

Isiah Thomas: Not Again!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Now in the words of Amare Stoudemire “The Knicks are back” and that is primarily due to the decisions made by GM Donnie Walsh. He has completely revamped a roster that has been deplorable in recent history and for the first time in years the Knicks are like Charlie Sheen and they are “Winning”.

“The Knicks Are Back!” FOH!! Back to what?

With that being said I constantly hear rumors that the Knicks owner regularly consults with former Knicks Coach/President Isiah Thomas and I’m baffled as to why he would do so. I can sit here and name several horrible decisions that Isiah made when running the Knicks but I will just say that Isiah traded for Eddy Curry.

Why is James Dolan still consulting him, and why are there rumors about him coming back to the Knicks. Even if it is not true Mr. Dolan should have said so. If it is true I believe Isiah has pictures of Mr. Dolan with a “low pro hoe that’s cut like an afro”. There is no other logical explanation as to why Isaih would still have anything to do with the Knicks in any capacity. The Knicks were so bad under Isaih that I would rather watch Jodeci perform on The Varnell Hill Show then to watch Isiah’s teams play. So Mr Dolan do me and all of N.Y. a favor and cut it the hell out!!!

Not Again Please!

I’m Nice!!!

Jimmy Williams

Not everyone dislikes the NBA trend of “Superteaming”

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011