Knicks Legend Bernard King: New York Basketball Is ‘Everything’

Knicks legend Bernard King chatted with Knicks SI's Rob Lep during a one-on-one interview at the Museum Of the City of New York.
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New York Knicks legend Bernard King epitomizes what it means to be a New Yorker. Growing up in Brooklyn, he learned the game on the city’s playgrounds.

He was in New York City last month as he was in attendance for the Museum of the City of New York's annual gala, inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, “City/Game: Basketball in New York”.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was among those honored at the gala with the first annual Gotham Icon Award.

“It’s wonderful to be here," King said. "I grew up in Brooklyn New York, developed my game on the playgrounds throughout the city of New York and so to see the game represented here in this Museum is a wonderful thing.”

He was selected with the 7th overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the New York Nets, who moved from Uniondale to New Jersey a month later, becoming the New Jersey Nets. He spent the first three seasons of his career with the Nets.

“I’m from Brooklyn so I am New York,” King said. “It means everything to me having the opportunity to play here during my career with the Knicks, having grown up as a kid honing my skills in the city. I’ve seen it evolved and I’m delighted to see where the game is at. New York basketball is everything.”

Before the start of the 1982 NBA season, King was traded to the Knicks for Micheal Ray Richardson.

Fans may point to King’s iconic 60-point game on Christmas Day 1984 versus the New Jersey nets, his former team, as their favorite King moment.

Or when he became the first player since Rick Barry in 1967 to score at least 50 points in consecutive games, which happened on a Texas road trip on January 31 and February 1, 1984.

Personally, his favorite moment in blue and orange is a lot more simple.

“Just putting on that uniform in the locker room every night.”

King was at his best playing for the Knicks under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena.

He made three All-Star appearances while in New York (1982, ‘84, ‘85) and was the league’s scoring champion in 1985.

“In terms of the grit of the city, the rhythm of the city, it’s distinctively different than any other city. New York is a very special place with the greatest fans in the world.”

An interview with any New York icon wouldn’t be complete without a question about their favorite pizza/ bagel spot in the Big Apple.

“I haven’t lived in New York in a long time but wherever you go in terms of bagels and pizza, you can’t go wrong."