Friday, August 4th, 2006 at 8:21 am  |  22 responses

SLAM #19

Nique, Doo, Nard, AD, Issel, English & Artis In The House

Originally published in SLAM 19

The 6th Man: My favorite player of all-time is Bernard King. For a number of reasons-the intensity, the turnaround jumpshot that converted a post-pass into two points in the blink of an eye, the hunger for the ball at crunchtime that only one current Knicks-John Starks-exhibits. ‘Nard was, and still is, my man.

For the uninitiated, let me explain something about Bernard King’s career, some of which you can find in stat books and some of which you cannot. Over 14 seasons, ‘Nard averaged 22.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 3.3 apg. During his career, he amassed 20,342 hard-earned points.

In the early-to-mid-’80′s, King carried the Knicks to the playoffs time and time again, showing such courage under fire that even clutch players like Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas were left shaking their heads. He suffered a brutal knee injury (I still remember him collapsing underneath the basket against the old Kansas City Kings) and missed the entire ’85-86 and much of the ’86-87 seasons. After intensive physical therapy, he returned to the game in ’87 to average 19.1 ppg over his final five seasons with the Bullets and Nets.

The fact that King didn’t win the MVP award after the ’84-85 seasons (it went to Larry Bird), when he dropped 32.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg a game, was, to me, one of the greatest crimes of the century. That is, until the NBA announced its Top 50 players of all time and Bernard King was nowhere to be found.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about Bill Walton. In ten seasons, Bill averaged 13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 3.3 apg. Although he won an NBA title with the Trailblazers during the ’76-77 seasons, Walton finished his career with 6,743 points-less than one-third of King’s total output. Needless to say, Bill making the cut was a sore point for me (and I’m not even gonna get into Shaquille O’Neal). Not that I think Walton’s a bad guy; his keen insight helped sculpt our Top-50 list. It’s just that in no way is Bill Walton one of the 50 all-time best NBA players. And I suspect that, in his heart, he knows it too.

That’s it. I’m done preaching. We did our own Top 50, which involved a whole lot of back-and-forth dialogue between the writer, Ken Shouler, and us. Besides the thankless task of ranking them, stopping at 50 proved difficult. We all agreed that King, Bob McAdoo, Dominique, Adrian Dantley, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel and Alex English should be in; the toughest part was deciding between Pete Maravich and Dave Bing, between Big Game James Worthy and Clyde Drexler, between Artis Gilmore and Bob Lanier. Some of our choices you’re gonna love, some of them you’re gonna hate. But we did it nonetheless.

And now that I know Bernard King is getting the credit he so richly deserves, I can finally sleep nights.


Tony Gervino

Issue 19 Jordan

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  • Max Airington

    Do it again.

  • Danny T

    My first SLam Issue…and the thing i remember most from it was the Ed O’bannon Karl Kani ad.

  • Mike

    U need a top 100 wit Bron,DWade, and Melo

  • adm

    This is the best MJ Slam cover ever but I like the ranking in the Slam Classics better. They finally gave Wilt the recognition he deserves on that one. And speaking of Slam Classics, when will we have another one coming? It’s a great SLAM series!

  • http://slamonline LA’s#1fan

    2nd best mike cover

  • james

    Mike, Melo would not make top 100 right now. No way. What a cover though, yet another classic I now have sitting in my loft.

  • Ricky D!

    Bron and Wade would amke it now, melo will soon but not now. bron has put up historical digits in 3 years that only O and MJ had, except they did it with 3-5 yeasr on Lebron. Wade carried shaq and riley, not the other way around so.

    My top 10

    Michael jordan
    Magic Johnson
    Wilt Chamberlain
    Larry Bird
    Kareem Abdul Jabbar
    Bill Russell
    Shaq O’neal
    Oscar Robertson
    Hakeem olajuwon
    Tim Duncan

  • adm

    Here’s my top 10:
    1. MJ
    2. Magic
    3. Bird
    4. Wilt
    5. Russell
    6. Big O
    7. Kareem
    8. Dr.J
    9. Shaq
    10. Olajuwon

    I wonder if it will be a good idea for Slam to release its Top 60 to commemorate the NBA’s 60th year

  • http://Bongarpeoplepc.com SASfan01

    My top ten is better than you 2
    1. Wilt
    2. MJ
    3. Kareem
    4. Russell
    5. Magic
    6. Bird.
    7. Shaq
    8. Dr.J
    9. Stockton
    10. Moses

    This top ten dosen’t have legends like Big O, The Logo, Kobe, The Admiral, Ewing, Barkley, Duncan, Pippen and others but this top ten is amazing don’t deny you love it, get over it.

  • Gilbert0

    My top ten is better than all of you!
    1.Michael Jordan
    2.Larry Bird
    3.Wilt Chamberlain
    4.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    5.Magic Johnson
    6.Julius Erving
    7.Bill Russel
    8.Moses Malone
    9.Charles Barkley
    10.Oscar Robinson

  • Chris

    My Top 10:
    1. MJ
    2. Wilt
    3. Kareem
    4. Larry
    5. Magic
    6. Bill Russel
    7. Kobe
    8. Lebron
    9. Dr. J
    10. Karl Malone

  • http://google casey tull

    here’s the greatest top ten of all time
    1-Micahael Jordan

  • casey tull

    here’s the greatest top ten of all time
    1- Casey Tull
    2- darko millic
    3- Jason Williams
    4- Luke Walton
    5- Chris Webber
    6- Kwame Brown
    7- JJ Reddick
    8- Leandro Barbosa
    9- Rafer Alston
    10- Sebastian Telfair
    11- Eddy Curry

  • tmacis42

    my top five-
    1. mike
    2. wilt
    3. larry
    4. magic
    5. russell

  • bigdizzle

    Yo son, straight up, it’s like this
    1. Mike
    2. Mike
    3. Mike
    4. Mike
    5. Mike
    6. Mike
    7. Mike
    8. Mike
    9. Mike
    10. Mike
    All ya’ll got dis stuff wrong, MJ is the greatest to ever play tha game over any1, no doubt. So get it right.

  • Sven

    bigdizzle is stupid talking bout’ Yo Son. He’s a fake Gangster.
    My TOP ten
    1. Michael Jordan
    2. LeBron James
    3. Vince Carter
    4. Magic Johnson
    5. Dr.J
    6. Tracy McGrady
    7. Kareem abdul-Jabbar
    8. Larry Bird
    9. Wilt Chamberlain
    10.Willis Reed

  • mj23


  • reese

    Mike all the way

  • MJFan

    Everyone knows MJ is #1! Nobody can compare to him.
    My top 10
    1.Michael Jordon
    2.Magic Johnson
    3.Larry Bird
    4.Dominique Wilkins
    5.Kareem Abdul Jabbar
    6.Shaquille O’Neal
    7.Julius Erving Dr. J
    8.Scottie Pippen
    9. Charles Barkley
    10.Patrick Ewing

  • Crossyboy

    Does anyone post the top 50 from this issue? Want to see how it compares with the 2009 list.

  • http://www.bc-berkut.ru dbodrov

    That was one of the most interesting issues

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