Posts Tagged ‘Bernard King’

NBA, NBPA and NBRPA join forces for cardiac screenings

VIDEO: Hall of Famer Bernard King was an unstoppable force on the basketball court

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The wake-up call for Bernard King came the morning after the 2015 Naismith Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The night before he’d spent a good hour talking with fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Moses Malone about everything but basketball. It was a joyful time, King said, a chance for old friends to catch up on one another’s lives after the game.

But before King could open the door on his car as he headed to the airport that next morning, he received the news that Malone had died suddenly, yet another member of the NBA family gone way too soon.

That’s one reason why King was one of 25 retired NBA players to take part in a cardiovascular screening for local NBA alumni Saturday at Philips Arena, a program sponsored by the Hawks in conjunction with the NBA, the Players Association and the Retired Players Association.

“We’ve lost a lot of guys over the last couple of years,” King said, “Moses, Darryl Dawkins, Jerome Kersey and before that Pat Cummings, just to name a few. And a lot of these guys have died of heart attacks. So I think it’s great that the league, the players association and the retired players association are joining forces to try and figure out why that is and what we can do to adequately provide for everyone.”

Malone died in September of a cardiovascular disease, a month after Dawkins died of a heart attack. It’s the loss of those close to you, King said, makes the reality of the situation even more real for he and his fellow retired players.

“It certainly hits home,” he said. “These are guys you’ve competed against and played with or against for so many years. I sat with Moses for 90 minutes at the Hall of Fame just laughing and joking about everything you can think of going back to our days playing together in Washington. We didn’t even talk about basketball. Before I could even get in the car the next morning Meadowlark Lemon, who we just recently lost, and Artis Gilmore stopped me and asked if I’d heard about Moses. I said, ‘what are you taking about? I was just with him last night.’ And they told me he’d died last night. So yes, it’s disheartening that anyone would lose their life like that, whether they were a professional athlete or otherwise. The bottom line is, too many guys are dying at too young an age.”

That’s one of the main reasons the cardiovascular screening program was initiated, said Joe Rogowski, the NBPA’s Director of Sports Medicine and Research. The first one was held in Houston in December. Saturday’s event included Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, Hawks Vice Chairman Grant Hill, who was instrumental in the event being held at Philips Arena, as well as more recently retired players like Tony Delk.

“This is fantastic,” Delk said. “I’m 42 and very conscious of my health now that I’ve stopped playing. So when I heard they were offering this program free to retired players, I made sure to get my name on the list. When you’re playing, you take so much of this for granted, you’re talking about some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world. But none of us is immune to the issues that come with getting older.”

Rogowski worked in the league for a decade and said that the NBPA’s executive committee was discussing player health and retired player’s health during a meeting and idea for the screening program came out that exchange. It was placed on a high-priority list by the executive committee and fast-tracked for this season.

The NBA and the NBRPA jumped on board immediately when informed about the program, Rogowski said, and now that they have the Houston and Atlanta screenings in the books, there is much more to come.

“It’s been a truly collaborative effort,” he said. “From the NBPA, the NBRPA and the league to all of the specialists we fly in from all over the country to the teams, both Houston and here in Atlanta, for allowing us to set up shop and use the space in the arenas. It’s the same group that goes from city to city. And were thankful we’re doing it, because we’ve found some things that need to be addressed. And this is just the first step in a long-term process that will help us address the needs of the players, past, present and in the future.”

Rogowski cited the program’s mobility as one of the crucial elements to the success of the first two screening events. It can travel and reach the retired players in a place that is familiar and comfortable for them.

“I consider this a golden opportunity,” said King, 59, who has lived in the Atlanta area for over 15 years. “You have the finest experts here, health-wise, to check you out and ensure that your body is okay and functioning the way it should be. Those opportunities don’t always present themselves to you after you are done playing, so I made sure to get my name on the list before it filled up, because it was first come first serve.”

Morning Shootaround — Jan. 25

Melo is King for a very special night | Anthony’s big night by the numbers | He’s a ‘bad man,’ but ‘The Greatest?’ | Parsons’ 10 from distance send USA message

No. 1: Melo is King for a very special night — The game was a sellout – 19,812 at Madison Square Garden – so it wasn’t a matter of empty seats masquerading years from now as truth-stretchers, as in “I was there when Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points.” Oh, that number will grow ten-fold over time, with New York Knicks fans wanting to touch and be a part of Anthony’s very special night (even if they weren’t).

But considering the opponent (Charlotte), the fact that this game was played on a Friday night and the dreary ways of the Knicks lately – with a Super Bowl headed to town! – it’s safe to assume many longtime Knicks fans found their entertainment elsewhere and are kicking themselves today. A scan of bylines shows how few of New York media’s NBA “name” writers and columnists actually were working.

That’s the danger, that’s the capriciousness and that’s the beauty of sports, the possibility that on any given night you might see something completely unexpected that sets tongues to wagging worldwide. Anthony did that when he made 23 of 35 shots against the Bobcats, setting scoring records for the Knicks franchise and MSG. Here’s just one of the waggers, Ken Berger of

What you will hear about Melo’s magical performance — a franchise and current Madison Square Garden record — is that it proves nothing except the worst stereotypes about one of the NBA’s most gifted scorers. The grumpy old men in the balcony from the Muppets were already chirping on Twitter about how Anthony didn’t have a single assist to go with his 62 points.

As if he’s supposed to pass to J.R. Smith on his way into the NBA history books, with his team rolling to a rare night of outright elation, on its way to a 29-point victory, 125-96. As if Kobe Bryant was supposed to pass to Smush Parker on his way to 81 against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006.

Bryant had two assists that night, in case you’re wondering — proof, I suppose, of Anthony’s enduring selfishness.

Nonsense. Anthony has been anything but during this lost season in New York. He has done nothing but rise above the circus atmosphere that has engulfed his team, leading the NBA in minutes played (39 per game) while putting together one of his best all-around seasons. His nine rebounds per game are a career high, and his 3.1 assists (yep, assists) are the sixth-highest average of his career.

More than anything, though, Anthony has not fueled what could easily have become a free-agent hysteria with his chance to opt out and hit the market after the season. He hasn’t complained about his predicament, because after all, it is his predicament. Melo wanted New York so badly that he forced his way here in a trade that stripped a young, promising Knicks team built by Donnie Walsh of most key assets it had.

That, in the end, will be Anthony’s burden to bear. He just gave everyone a reminder that, on nights like this one, he’s worth it.


No. 2: Anthony’s big night by the numbers — The player whose Knicks scoring record Anthony broke Friday is also the Hall of Famer to whom he often has been compared. Bernard King played for five teams across 14 NBA seasons, but it was his four years in New York that established the Brooklyn native, by way of the University of Tennessee, as one of the league’s all-time most potent scorers.

King, who averaged 26.5 points in the 206 games (of his career 874) he played for New York, found himself trending on Twitter as Anthony stalked and snagged his franchise scoring mark. And he even got in on the excitement:

In a performance so memorable due to numbers, it figured that the folks at Elias Sports Bureau would have a few statistical quirks and surprises to share:

• Anthony scored 62 points in the Knicks’ win over the Bobcats. It was the 61st time in NBA history that a player scored 60 or more points in a regular-season game. Wilt Chamberlain did it 32 times, all other players combined for 29 such games.

• Anthony scored exactly 50 points in a game three times prior to Friday night, twice for the Nuggets and once for the Knicks. Anthony is only the fourth player in NBA history to score 50 or more points in a game at least twice for two different teams. Chamberlain did it of course, as did Pete Maravich (Jazz and Hawks) and King (Bullets and Knicks). Thirty-seven of Anthony’s points came in the first half, the most for any player in the first half of a game since Bryant scored 42 first-half points against Washington on March 28, 2003.

• Anthony also hauled in 13 rebounds to go along with his 62 points becoming only the fifth different player in NBA history with that many points and rebounds in a game. The others to do that were Chamberlain (22 times), Elgin Baylor (three), David Robinson and Michael Jordan.


No. 3: He’s a ‘bad’ man, but The Greatest? — What, more Melo? To which we at Hang Time HQ respond: What, someone scores 62 points every night in The Association?

While a lot of the better-known NBA media folks in New York were somewhere other than MSG Friday, George Willis of the New York Post was on hand and probed an interesting Anthony-Muhammad Ali angle. In fact, it might have said more about the Knicks star than Willis even realized. The columnist focused on Ali as inspiration for Anthony Friday, thanks to a pregame video the team was shown.

But the parallel between Ali and Anthony might go deeper. One dominated in an individual sport, the other tries to dominate individually in a team sport. Ali, through ego and deeds, separated himself from the pack, while Anthony, with his own ego and deeds, often seems to separate himself from teammates and teams.

While some critics focused on Anthony’s assist total Friday – zero – to take a few new whacks at him on his night of 35 shots and 62 points, the assist numbers of the other Knicks might have been more revealing. Hard to argue that Melo should have been passing to cohorts not nearly as hot in shooting touch. But in their passing to him, none of the Knicks had more than five assists and the team had just 23. The Bobcats posted the same number, 23, on 13 fewer buckets.

This was Anthony at his individual best, initiating and finishing the highlights Friday. Only five of his first 18 field goals were assisted and just nine of 23 overall. The old “Does he make teammates better?” question that the game’s elite strive to answer still hands over him.
Here is a little of Willis’ take:

Before the game, Anthony was so intense, a few of his teammates asked if there were something wrong. There was a lot wrong: Like a five-game losing streak, three straight losses to begin an eight-game homestand and all the talk about the Knicks starting to turn on coach Mike Woodson. There was also talk of whether the Knicks would be better off without Anthony’s huge contract.

Amid the growing adversity, Anthony found inspiration in the words of Ali.

“It was one of his speeches about greatness,” center Tyson Chandler said. “He said, ‘I’m going to show you that I’m great.’ Everybody was against him. Obviously, Melo took it to heart.”

Anthony took it to heart and to the court.

“Hearing the words of Muhammad and then getting out there making those first couple shots, I felt like it was going to be a good night,” Anthony said.


No. 4: Parsons’ 10 from distance send USA message — Not everything amazing happened in the Knicks-Bobcats game Friday. In the second half of Houston’s 88-87 home loss to Memphis, Chandler Parsons made 10 3-pointers, more than any NBA player in a half and matching the Rockets’ record for a full game.
It wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies’ defense on Houston’s last possession forced the ball out of his hands. But it was notable, exciting and tinged with a little resentment, with Parsons feeling yet again overlooked, this time by USA Basketball. As Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported:

He did, however, hope he had sent a message after he felt he had been snubbed when excluded from the USA Basketball Men’s National team 28-player roster.

“I’m going to use that the rest of my career,” Parsons said. “I’m not surprised. I’ve been overshadowed, overlooked my whole life. I was very frustrated. A life dream of mine is to play on that team. I deserved to be on that team. I played well in the camp. My game, my versatility, I feel like I’d be perfect for that system. I was upset. I still am upset. I think it’s a joke I’m not on there. Maybe next time.

“I guess I can take a positive from a negative and hit 10 3s in a half from here on out.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Who are the Lakers? And for that matter, why? Pau Gasol gets frustrated and existential.Doc Rivers thinks the Bulls would be nuts to let coach Tom Thibodeau walk away – Rivers-style, Celtics to Clippers – though Thibodeau was thinking more Friday night of Kate Upton. … Steph Curry had 33 points and 15 assists, the Warriors shot 55.1 percent and yet Golden State lost? Wait, the brighter perspective: Minnesota won a close game. …

Are Jazz Primed For A Rare Stop In Western Conference’s Cellar?


HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — The last time the Jazz finished last in the Western Conference was 1979-80, their first season in Salt Lake after the team packed up and left New Orleans. There’s been only a few close calls over the decades, most recently a 26-win, second-to-last finish in 2004-05.

But not dead last.

At 24-58, Utah finished the ’79-’80 campaign tied with Golden State at the bottom of the 11-team West and pulled up the rear in a Midwest Division that went Milwaukee, Kansas City, Denver, Chicago. The Jazz had a 32-year-old “Pistol” Pete Maravich, whose knees were so shot that he played in just 17 games and retired, and a 23-year-old Bernard King, who played in just 19 games and sought help for a drinking problem.

Future Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley, then 23, averaged 28.0 ppg and found a home in the NBA. Shooting guards Ron Boone (12.8 ppg) and Terry Furlow (16.0 ppg) provided the majority of the backcourt scoring. Duck Williams chipped in 6.6 ppg off the bench, ABA vet Mack Calvin averaged 6.4 ppg in 48 games and 24-year-old journeyman Brad Davis signed late and played 13 games before spending the next 12 seasons in Dallas, who retired his No. 15 jersey.

As this mostly unrecognizable and already banged-up 2013-14 team tumbles toward the starting gate, they could use any of those old guards — forget John Stockton — for a little backcourt help. With non-playoff teams like Minnesota, Portland, New Orleans and Dallas looking improved, and new coaches and philosophies in Phoenix (led by ex-Jazz assistant and legend Jeff Hornacek) and Sacramento, could re-booting Utah be in jeopardy of its first last-place finish in three-plus decades?

That might not be all that bad — or even, wink, wink, the plan — considering the anticipated bumper crop of the 2014 Draft. Even money is on the Jazz equaling the 24 wins of ’79-80 when Tom Nissalke‘s club averaged 102.2 ppg to also finish dead last in scoring in a much different 22-team NBA. Through five preseason games, Utah is averaging 87.0 ppg and 18.8 apg, both of which would have ranked last last season.

The Jazz certainly didn’t intend to lose top Draft pick and starting point guard Trey Burke to a busted right index finger in the preseason. He was averaging 7.0 ppg (on dreadful shooting) and 4.0 apg before undergoing surgery to repair the bone. He’ll miss 8-12 weeks, delaying his development. Plus, this team is not one built to endure injuries anywhere.

In the interim, the always game, if not so venerable, John Lucas III appears to be the Jazz’s starting point guard. The next game he starts will be his third entering a sixth season bouncing in and out of the league since 2005. He’ll pair in the backcourt with either Alec Burks or Gordon Hayward, who whether starting at shooting guard or small forward (Richard Jefferson has started three preseason games here), will have to be this team’s Dantley.

Backcourt depth isn’t inspiring. Brandon Rush has yet to play as he recovers from last season’s torn ACL. Undrafted rookie combo guard Ian Clark has managed just 11.8 mpg in four preseason games. Lester Hudson and Scott Machado are scrapping for minutes.

After Burke’s broken finger there were rumblings of interest in bringing back free agent Jamaal Tinsley. Considering the Jazz aren’t exactly worried about losing ground in November — this season’s writing is on the wall — they might be more inclined simply to ride out Burke’s injury.

Just don’t expect smooth sailing. The Jazz get something of a break in their first six games, likely missing Russell Westbrook in their Oct. 30 opener against Oklahoma City, Rajon Rondo at Boston on Nov. 6 and perhaps Deron Williams the night before in Brooklyn. In the other three games they’ll face Phoenix’s new tandem of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe on Nov. 1, Houston’s James Harden and Jeremy Lin on Nov. 2 and Chicago’s Derrick Rose on Nov. 8. Then comes this six-pack of opposing point guards: Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Tony Parker, Steph Curry in a home-and-home series and Holiday again.

Ever-knowledgeable Jazz fans have shown a level of understanding as the franchise shifts directions and amasses Draft picks. Now comes the hard part — showing patience. They stand to witness more losses this season than since well before coach Jerry Sloan walked through that door.

Melo’s Mission Seems More Than Scoring Title


HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — This is a story of a great scorer scoring, but for Carmelo Anthony, is his recent tear about something bigger?

Before celebrating the pageantry of Anthony’s scoring spree, look where else ‘Melo is scoring big points. Averaging a rather ordinary 6.8 rebounds a game for the season, Anthony pulled down 19 Thursday night. In his last eight games, he’s also delivered rebounding totals of 14, 12, 10 and 11. He’s grabbed 81 total in those eight games and 31 — nearly 40 percent — have kept Knicks possessions alive.

Rebounding is work and Anthony’s bringing his hard hat as the New York Knicks’ impressive stretch run bears down on the East’s No. 2 seed. Anthony’s all-around efforts have to be considered an encouraging, belief-cementing sign for the Knicks organization. It shows toughness and commitment. Recently back from a knee injury, he’s sacrificing his body. He’s all in, and, if appearances can be trusted, he is ascending as the leader of a tough, even headstrong, veteran team.

One which — notwithstanding Thursday’s overtime streak-buster by the ornery Bulls — looks every bit capable of advancing to the conference finals to face that familiar bunch down south …

… And now back to the pageantry of Anthony’s scoring spree. Whew!: 39.8 ppg over his last six. He’d never gone better than 30 points in three straight games in a Knicks uniform. And 30-in-six matches his best ever in 7 1/2 seasons in Denver, done twice in Nov. 2006, amazingly in a span of 13 games. In the seventh game he scored 29.

Scoring strings of 50, 40, 41, 36, 36 and 36 just don’t fall from the sky.

Appropriately during the same week Bernard King made it into the Hall of Fame, Anthony’s blowing up scoreboards. Volume shooting, you ask? Well, sure, except until Thursday’s 13-for-34 for 36, Anthony’s recent accuracy on his 27.5 shots a game has been more King than typical Carmelo, 56.4 percent, including 51.1 percent beyond the arc.

Anthony’s six-game scoring blitz has been so swift and stunning that a few days ago it zipped him past Kevin Durant, the three-time scoring champ, to lead the league and has him positioned to prevent the young Thunder superstar from a fourth consecutive trophy in his first six seasons. Melo, somewhat surprisingly 10 years in and never averaging fewer than 20 points in a single season, would win his first.

Anthony increased his lead after Thursday’s games by one-tenth of a point, raising his season average to 28.7 ppg. Durant, who scored 31 (10-for-16 FGs, 2-for-3 on 3s and 9-for-10 from the free throw line) in a win at Golden State, is holding steady 28.3 ppg. Durant has three games left; Anthony has four.

In his highest-scoring season (2006-07), Anthony averaged 28.9 ppg. Kobe Bryant won the scoring title at 31.6 ppg for the 42-40 Lakers under Phil Jackson.

Anthony’s overall field-goal percentage is steady with his 45.6 career mark. It’s his 3-point shooting that’s taken off. During his six-game explosion, Anthony is 17-for-33 (55.1 percent) from deep, and that includes 0-for-4 Thursday night. His season percentage is a robust 38.4, a five-point spike on his 33.4 career percentage and last season’s 33.5.

It’s been good enough for a charge at the scoring title. But, then, scoring has never been an issue with Anthony.

Forever hanging over New York’s 28-year-old native son as a new and hopeful postseason beckons, is if this season — starting with praise for newfound alertness to defense and finishing with an offensive assault — is ready to join the league’s few heavyweight superstars capable of putting their team, and the pressure of the postseason, on their backs.

Payton, King, Others Elected To Hall



Former scoring star Bernard King and coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis have been elected to the Hall of Fame after long waits as the Springfield, Mass., basketball museum continued its stated mission of new chances for candidates that have been overlooked in the past. Those three, along with expected inductee Gary Payton and active coach Rick Pitino, headline the Class of 2013.

Maurice Cheeks, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Tom Heinsohn (as a coach, after previously making it as a player) and Mitch Richmond failed to receive at least 18 votes from 24 anonymous panelists from around the NBA and college game that decide the finalists from the North American committee.

In the other results announced Monday in Atlanta as part of the Final Four, North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell and former star guard Dawn Staley were elected via the Women’s committee. They were the only finalists.

The just-announced inductees will be enshrined Sept. 8 in Springfield with the winners announced in February from other categories: Roger Brown (ABA), Edwin B. Henderson (Early African American Pioneers), Oscar Schmidt (International), Richard Guerin (Veterans) and Russ Granik (Contributor).

King’s election comes 20 years after his retirement, while Lewis, who coached 29 future NBA players at the University of Houston, left the sideline in 1986. Tarkanian last coached in 2002. Tarkanian, best known for his college work but also the coach of the Spurs for 20 games at the start of 1992-93, has been on the ballot so many times that he was removed for a lack of support before becoming eligible again this voting cycle.

Payton was the closest thing to a first-ballot automatic since Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen in 2010, an impossible candidate to deny after Dennis Rodman and then Reggie Miller both failed to make the finalist’s list their first year of eligibility but then went all the way to induction in the second. Being chosen for the All-Star game nine times and voted first-team All-Defense nine teams meant Payton would get no such rookie hazing.

The announcement of Pitino’s election came hours before his team, Louisville, will play for the national championship a few miles away in Atlanta. The former coach of the Knicks and Celtics is the only person to take three different schools to the men’s Final Four.

Griner Wouldn’t Be Longest Draft Reach

HANG TIME, Texas — Never underestimate Mark Cuban’s knack for attracting attention. And who could blame him if the idea was to draw it away from his underperforming team that is ironically keeping a team of barbers on hold at the same time they’re about to cut off their string of consecutive playoff appearances at 12 years?

Should the Mavericks draft Brittney Griner?

Let cranky Geno Auriemma be outraged and throw bricks. Let former greats of the women’s game Nancy Lieberman and Ann Meyers Drysdale offer their words encouragement to the Baylor star. Let Griner give even the most outrageous hope and dreams to any little girl who has ever dribbled a basketball.

Let’s face it. The Mavs selecting Griner wouldn’t be the first unusual pick in the history of the NBA draft. And before you snicker, remember that somebody took Pervis Ellison, Greg Oden, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi No. 1. Here’s a reminder of a few others off-beat choices down through the years:

JIM BROWN (Syracuse Nationals, 1957 ) — The Nats didn’t have to reach outside the city limits to take a flyer on the guy who would become perhaps the greatest player in NFL history. Brown played four college sports — football, basketball, lacrosse and track — at Syracuse. He even averaged 15 points a game for the basketball team in his sophomore year. But even though there was little doubt that Brown was bound for a career on the gridiron, the Nats made him a ninth-round pick.

Other notables in draft: “Hot Rod” Hundley (No. 1 overall by Cincinnati, traded to Minneapolis); Sam Jones (No. 8 by Boston).

FRANK HOWARD (Philadelphia Warriors, 1958) — It wasn’t just his physical stature at 6-foot-8, 275 pounds that caught the attention of the Warriors in the third round. He could really play and was an All-American in basketball at Ohio State. But baseball was Howard’s first love and he signed with the Dodgers and had a 15-year career in the majors, hitting 382 home runs with 1,119 RBIs.

Other notables in the draft: Elgin Baylor (No. 1 overall by Minneapolis); Hal Greer (No. 13 by Syracuse).

BUBBA SMITH (Baltimore Bullets, 1967) — Long before he became known for playing the role of Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies and starring in Miller Lite commercials, the 6-foot-7 Smith was an All-American defensive end at Michigan State. His height attracted the attention of the Bullets in the 11th round of the NBA draft, but Smith was the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL Colts and a champion in Super Bowl V.

Other notables in the draft: Earl Monroe (No. 2 overall by Baltimore); Walt Frazier (No. 5 by New York).

BOB BEAMON (Phoenix Suns, 1969) — Who could blame the Suns for taking a flying leap? After all, they were coming off a 16-66 record in their expansion season in the league and Beamon had just shattered the world long jump record by more than a foot at the Mexico City Olympics. Beamon had grown up playing street ball in New York, but was strictly a track and field athlete in college at Texas-El Paso. The Suns picked him in the 15th round of the draft, but he went back to school and graduated with a sociology degree from Adelphi University.

DENISE LONG (San Francisco Warriors, 1969) — The 18 year old out of Union-Whitten High in Iowa was the first woman ever drafted in the NBA, taken in the 13th round. She had averaged 69.6 points and had a single game high of 111 points in her senior year. NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy voided the pick, calling it a publicity stunt by Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli and also noted that high school players weren’t eligible at the time. Mieuli brought Long and other female players in to play before Warriors home games.

Other notables in the draft: Lew Alcindor (No. 1 overall by Milwaukee); JoJo White (No. 9 by Boston); Mack Calvin (187th by L.A. Lakers).

DAVE WINFIELD (Atlanta Hawks, 1973) — It wasn’t just the Hawks who were trying to get their talons on one of the greatest all-around college athletes ever with their fifth-round pick. He was also drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA and the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, but went to baseball when the San Diego Padres chose him as a pitcher. In college at Minnesota, Bill Musselman once called him the best rebounder he ever coached. But Winfield did quite well in baseball, a 12-time All-Star with 465 career homers.

Other notables in the draft: Doug Collins (No. 1 overall by Philadelphia); Kermit Washington (No. 5 by L.A. Lakers).

BRUCE JENNER (Kansas City Kings, 1977) — Before face lifts and the Kardashians, there was a time when Jenner was known as the “world’s greatest athlete” after taking the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and the Kings made him a seventh-round draft pick. He never played in college and the closest Jenner ever got to basketball stardom was when he sank a shot during the singing of YMCA in the 1980 movie Can’t Stop the Music, which starred the Village People.

LUSIA HARRIS (New Orleans Jazz, 1977) — Here’s the real forerunner to Griner. A 6-foot-3 pioneer of the women’s game who led Delta State to three consecutive national titles, Harris was the second female ever drafted by an NBA team when the Jazz made her a seventh-round pick. Just imagine the show if she had been given a chance to team up with Pete Maravich in the backcourt. Harris showed little interest in her selection and declined a tryout invitation from the Jazz. It was later revealed that she was pregnant at the time.

Other notables in the draft: Bernard King (No. 7 overall by New York Nets); Jack Sikma (No. 8 by Seattle).

TONY GWYNN (San Diego Clippers, 1981) — After he set the San Diego State assist records for a game, season and career, he was hardly a reach for the Clippers in the 10th round of the draft. Gwynn said that dribbling strengthened his wrists and helped with bat speed and his on-court quickness made him a better base-runner. It all added up to a Hall of Fame baseball career with 3,141 hits and eight N.L. batting titles.

YASUTAKA OKAYAMA (Golden State Warriors, 1981) — Tallest player ever drafted by an NBA team? Not Yao Ming or Gheorge Muresan or Manute Bol. Try Okayama, who was 7-foot-8. He earned a second degree black belt in judo in his native Japan and began playing basketball at age 18 at Osaka University of Commerce. Okayama attended the University of Portland (Ore.), but did not play there. He was a member of the Japanese national team from 1979 to 1986. He never signed with the Warriors or attended a camp.

Other notables in the draft: Mark Aguirre (No. 1 overall by Dallas); Isiah Thomas (No. 2 by Detroit).

CARL LEWIS (Chicago Bulls, 1984) — It might have been the year when Michael Jordan earned his first gold medal, but Lewis was definitely the biggest star of the L.A. Olympics, tying Jesse Owens’ record of four track and field gold medals. Though he never played basketball in high school or college, a West Coast scout recommended drafting Lewis in the 10th round because he was “the best athlete available.” That same year the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the 12th round as a wide receiver. Lewis stayed with sprinting and the long jump to become arguably the greatest track and field athlete ever.

Other notables in the draft: Hakeem Olajuwon (No. 1 overall by Houston); Michael Jordan (No. 3 by Chicago); Charles Barkley (No. 5 by Philadelphia); John Stockton (No. 16 by Utah).

Bernard King May Get Long Overdue Day


— 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.”

Hall of Fame Debate: Most Deserving

The updated rankings, following last week’s release of the nominees for the Class of 2013 in Springfield, Mass., includes one stretch and one asterisk pick, but the premise is the same as the standings from last April in the wake of the election for the Class of 2012: The order of most deserving among candidates on the ballot with NBA or ABA ties.

The fine print is important. This list does not weigh cases from the amateur and women’s game or most from the International, Early African-American Pioneers and Veterans categories. It’s NBA and ABA. And, it’s people under consideration by voters, not anyone deserving of induction. Gregg Popovich and David Stern, among others, have made it clear they do not yet want to be nominated, just as Jerry Sloan held out for years before finally agreeing in 2009 to undergo the discomfort of friends and peers saying nice things about him.

There is obviously a new No. 1 that creates a domino effect, now that Gary Payton is under consideration, and also alterations lower on the list after the inclusion of other new and renewed nominees or simply a change of thinking. Plus, Mark Jackson is off the Hall ballot after failing to get a single vote from nine panelists in three consecutive years. (Jackson was always a long shot for enshrinement – consistently good, never great – but No. 3 on the career assist list has to at least get someone away from 0 for 27.)

The outcome of the first round of voting for the North American committee, which handles most nominees with an NBA background, will be announced at All-Star weekend, with the survivors then advancing to a final layer of balloting before inductees are revealed at the Final Four. Candidates via the ABA committee face a single ballot before a maximum of one winner is named at All-Star.

1. Payton, North American committee: The Glove was selected first-team All-Defense by coaches nine consecutive times in the 1990s and 2000s, All-NBA twice and Defensive Player of the Year once as chosen by the media, and part of two Olympic golds and one NBA championship. The anonymous Hall voters have been hard lately on first-ballot nominees – Dennis Rodman went from not making finalist in 2010 all the way to being elected in ’11 and Reggie Miller had the same bounce back from 2011 to ’12 – but giving Payton the same rookie hazing would generate the largest outcry yet.

2. Bernard King, North American: He averaged 22.5 points despite two serious knee injuries, finished better than 20 a game in 11 different seasons and was also a scoring star at Tennessee, an important consideration in a process where college achievements count. King was first-team All-NBA only twice and second-team once, but he played at the same time Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Dominique Wilkins were working forwards. (more…)

An Early Look At The Hall Class of 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Hall of Fame voters are big on patience. That much is apparent regarding the few details known about the secret panels that rule on enshrinement, a notion increasingly clear with the Class of 2012 that included Reggie Miller being inducted after not even making it to the finalist stage the year before, the same circuitous route Dennis Rodman took in 2011, and Don Nelson, Jamaal Wilkes and Ralph Sampson making it after lengthy waits.

This bodes well for the many in line. Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo has made reversing past oversights a priority, the ABA and the Early African-American Pioneers committees have been added to guarantee election for at least two candidates away from the game for decades, and the group that was celebrated Friday night was all about the waiting.

The continued relevance of the trend heading toward the Class of 2013 is the expectation that Gary Payton will be the only virtual first-ballot lock among players with strong NBA ties. That’s a lot of opportunity to fill out a field. Although there is no set number of inductees required annually, voters in the North American Committee could easily see the lack of superstars among new nominees as the latest chance to address the past.

I did a Most Deserving Candidates list in April, after the Class of 2012 was announced. The rankings will change early in the regular season, after the 2013 nominations are announced, with Payton likely the new No. 1 and other tweaks expected after further consideration, but the short version for now:

1. Bernard King, North American Committee.

2. Jerry Krause, Contributor.

3. Mark Jackson, North American.

4. Tim Hardaway, North American.

5. Bobby Jones, ABA.

6. Mitch Richmond, North American.

7. Maurice Cheeks, North American.

8. George McGinnis, ABA.

9. Rick Pitino, North American.

10. Slick Leonard, ABA.

Also considered: Vlade Divac (International), Bill Fitch (North American), Dick Motta (North American), Ron Boone (ABA), Rudy Tomjanovich (North American).

Again, those are the candidates with NBA connections, and an ABA nominee is definitely going in through a direct election, without the same layered screening process as others in the general North American field. It is also possible that nominees from the college game will have a strong presence and cost NBAers support.

But based on the last two years, based on the push by Colangelo, and certainly based on Friday night at Symphony Hall, patience has an important place in the voting. The early indication, with no surge of several automatics appearing to be on the way, is that will be true again in 2013.

Great Games On NBA TV This Week

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — If you need to take a break from watching the Olympics, NBA TV has got your back.

As the U.S. Team is beating up on Tunisia and Nigeria, NBA TV will be televising a bunch of classic games, from the past and from this past season, this week. So set the TiVo or DVR or just watch to see some hoops at its best.

First on Monday, we’ve got four big scoring nights from the 80s, featuring God disguised as Michael Jordan. Then, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it’s the top 10 games of the 2011-12 season, featuring Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, and Game 4 of The Finals.

Here’s the schedule… (more…)