HOUSTON – Sometimes the announcement of Hall of Fame candidates is routine. Sometimes there are surprises.
Then along comes a day like Friday when the voters for the Hall have a chance to right a wrong, correct an omission.
Two decades after Bernard King finally stopped terrorizing defenses as one of the greatest 1-on-1 scorers of all-time, the former great was named among the finalists for the North American committee.
It was a day and a step forward that many current Hall of Fame members said was long overdue.
“Bernard King. Bernard King. Bernard King,” said Dominique Wilkins. “I’ve been saying that for years. Bernard King. There should be no debate about it. Bernard King should be in the Hall of Fame.
“I don’t understand why he isn’t there yet. I tell you, I never feared anybody that I ever played against, but I lived in fear of him. The guy was a machine. You could not guard him 1-on-1. You can ask any of the greats of that era. You could not guard him 1-on-1. It was impossible.”
King averaged 22.5 points per game and shot .518 from the field over a 16-year NBA career. The 6-foot-7 small forward set a Nets rookie scoring record, was an All-NBA first teamer in 1984 and 1985 and led the league in scoring (32.5) in 1985.
In 1984 King gave one of the greatest Christmas Day performance ever, playing for the Knicks he scored 60 points, including 40 in the first half.
But somehow King has managed to get lost in the mist of time and slipped through the cracks of the Hall of Fame for the 15 years that he’s been eligible for induction in the Hall.
“Bernard King,” said Bob McAdoo. “I always said that I couldn’t figure that out. I would scratch my head. I’m glad he finally got nominated and now I hope he gets in. Man, Bernard King, he was the truth.
“I don’t know he’s not in already. That’s how it is, I guess. I have people that tell me all the time they don’t understand why I wasn’t (voted) in the top 50 in 1997). When they research they find I was the only MVP and only scoring champ that didn’t make it.
“It seems that sometimes are overlooked. I think that’s what happened. Man, Bernard King was the truth.”