Bernard King was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 in Springfield, Mass., on Sunday.
The former Knicks forward, regarded as one of the game's purest scorers, was presented by Dominique Wilkins, one of the many talented wings that he did battle with during the 1980s.
"I loved playing against you, Dominique, but I didn't like to guard you, though," King joked. "This Hall of Famer personified the golden era of small forwards in which I played. Every night I played it was a battle: Julius 'Dr. J' Erving, Larry Bird, Alex English, James Worthy, Marcus Johnson, Adrian Dantley, Mark Aguirre and Kiki Vandeweghe all thrived in the 80s."
The four-time All-Star and Brooklyn native then entered the meat of his acceptance speech with a vignette about beating expectations.
"I stand before you on the shoulders of my ancestors," King said. "Even my great-great-aunt Pearlene, who I spoke with when she was 103 years old, at the time my daughter Amina was born. I will never forget what she said to me: 'I'm happy you had a girl.' I inquired, 'Why is that?' Aunt Pearl said, 'A girl would grow up and give you grandkids, and a boy would only disappoint.' Aunt Pearl, I'm in the Hall of Fame. I hope I didn't disappoint."
The line drew laughter and applause from the assembled audience. In closing his speech, King went back to his family again: "Aunt Pearl, I made it. Mom and dad, I made it. I made it."
In between, King offered thanks to his former teammates and coaches along the way. He paid particular attention to the Knicks, as he played in New York from 1982 to 1987. During that stretch, King made three All-Star appearances while averaging a career-best 32.9 points in 1984-85.
"To put on the same jersey as the Knicks legends I watched as a kid was indescribable," King said. "Earl 'the Pearl' Monroe, a player who I watched growing up and was mesmerized by his uncanny moves. Willis Reed, the captain, exemplified courage, heart, determination, leadership, all qualities I admired. Walt Frazier -- all-around excellence, and always delivering in the biggest of moments. Bill Bradley: precision, shooting, intangibles and always embodying the team game. Last but not least, Dave DeBusschere, a great, great rebounder. I treasure playing for the Knicks and the great fans of New York."
King also thanked out Knicks coach Mike Woodson, for supporting his Hall of Fame candidacy, and All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, whose game often draws comparisons to King's.
"Carmelo Anthony, one of the best the game has ever seen," King said. "Thanks for your efforts to recognize my career, Melo."
Video of King's full speech is below.
Top video via YouTube user NBA | Bottom video via YouTube user OfficialHoopHall