The Madison Square Garden is considered by many to be a sacred ground of conquest and battle.
But for one man, Bernard King, the historic venue was considered a playground where he could score at will.
During the 1984-85 season, King was the NBA's leading scorer, putting up an astonishing 32.5 points per game. On Christmas Day that season, he tallied a then-Madison Square Garden 60 points in front of a national audience (the record has since been broken by Kobe, much to the dismay of Knicks fans).
Three months later his career took a turn for the worse, when he tore an ACL, effectively putting his basketball career on hold for 18 months. Even so, he was selected to the first-team All-NBA and was named Sporting News' 1984 NBA MVP.
However, the 6'7" King eventually came back years later the same player, and earned his final All-Star appearance in 1991 as a Washington Bullet, after besting 22 points per game.
Hold on a second: a guy with these credentials undoubtedly has a spot reserved in the Hall of Fame, right?
Unfortunately, the Basketball Hall of Fame has proved its' flaws in not inviting Bernard King into its' walls.
Much of the opponents of King's candidacy point to his career games played mark, a number that stands at 874 games. This clip is considerably low, but once you consider how often he was injured you can easily counter that. Throw in the fact that five of the NBA's "50 Greatest Players" (Bill Walton, Walt Frazier, Sam Jones, Elgin Baylor and Jerry Lucas), played in less total contests and there's no logical argument that goes against him.
What the naysayers don't realize is that there is so much going for King's chances.
He was an All-Star and All-NBA selection four times apiece during his career, and most importantly he outplayed good teams during crunch time.
All in all, he averaged 22.5 points per game during his career, and better than 26 as a member of the Big Apple's finest. He truly was the epitome of a Knickerbocker star.
In terms of total points? King, who accumulated 19,665 of them, has more than Hall of Famers Bob Lanier, Gail Goodrich, Isiah Thomas and three times as many as Walton.
But he wasn't all about scoring. He rebounded efficiently, grabbing a little under six per game during his career, impressive when you consider that most of his work was done on the perimeter. His long arms often helped him pull down even the toughest of the loose balls.
His trademark move was his turn-around jump shot caused by his quick release, something that helped gain him everyone's respect around the Association.
His footwork was fabulous, his spin moves could psyche out the best.
In summary, no defender could contain King in the prime of his career.
However, throughout the duration of his career, King missed about four entire seasons due to injury, leaving us wondering what could have been in those lost years.
Nonetheless, he made the made most out of every minute he was on the court for, averaging better than 20 points per game in nine different seasons for four different clubs (the Knicks, Nets, Warriors and Bullets).
Pundits around the world have compared his likeness to Carmelo Anthony, but that's not really a fair comparison for King. His quickness and agility were far more spectacular than 'Melo's have ever been.
Aside from being a star, King never really got into much legal trouble and contained himself on the hardwood. He truly helped epitomize the domination of the small forward in the 1980s, and there is doubt he should be a Hall of Famer.
And unfortunately, the Hall of Fame committee might not even reward his highness.
Joseph Fafinski is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri. Originally from Chaska, Minnesota, Joseph is an NBA and Minnesota Timberwolves Featured Columnist and a frequent writer on all things NBA, NFL and MLB. You can e-mail Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JosephFafinski.
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