If you had to let a single piece of paper stand for the future of
Big East basketball, you could do worse than the bill of sale
from Dave Brown's recent trip to an appliance store not far from
his apartment in Elmhurst in the New York City borough of Queens.
Brown picked up three items on that run: a 35-inch
picture-in-picture TV, a four-head VCR and a universal remote
with which to command them both.
As a result he'll be able to keep track of his nephew, Taliek
Brown, who'll be a freshman point guard at Connecticut this
season. Yet in the rarefied world of elite youth basketball in
the most serious hoops city in the world, Dave Brown has come to
regard as family a couple of other rookie playmakers in the Big
East: Andre Barrett of Seton Hall and Omar Cook of St. John's.
"We've all been around one another since the guys were 10 years
old, playing in the parks," says Dave, who manages a supermarket
So should Taliek and the Huskies face a team other than the
Pirates or the Red Storm on some busy night this season, Uncle
Dave will be able to follow the exploits of both his nephew and
one of the other two New Yorkers while the third's every
look-off, pull-up and crossover is being videotaped for later
perusal. "I'm ready," Dave says.
Barrett, Cook and Taliek Brown aren't the only New Yorkers who'll
stand out at the point this season. Jamaal Tinsley, back for his
senior year after leading Iowa State to within a game of the 2000
Final Four, may be the best of them all. Kenny Satterfield
reconsidered his decision to turn pro and returned for his
sophomore year at Cincinnati. And if he recovers in time from a
torn ACL in his right knee, Majestic Mapp, whose name signifies
the court-ruling and way-finding qualities that the position
requires, will run the show for Virginia. But by the time the
three Big East freshmen--"the Holy Trinity of point guard
demigods," as Queens-based basketball scout Tom Konchalski calls
them--are through, they could make up New York's finest class of
floor leaders since 1983, when the city sent Mark Jackson to St.
John's, Kenny Smith to North Carolina and Dwayne (Pearl)
Washington to Syracuse.
November 20, 2000
Any other burg would be delighted to cite a single year in which
it had such a terrific group of point guards. That New York can
point to two such crops in the last 17 years begs for an
It's not just that Gotham has the largest population of any city
in the country. Other metropolises have millions of inhabitants,
too, but none comes close to matching New York's point guard
legacy (chart, page 134). Konchalski cites the bent, netless rims
in the city's parks and schoolyards, and the low ceilings of its
CYO gyms, which can diminish a young jump shooter's percentage
and prompt him to learn how to get to the basket. Moreover, with
no more than a court or two serving an entire housing project,
when a New York kid goes out to play, he'll play games--not just
shoot baskets. He'll also play more officiated games than kids
from elsewhere. In Gotham there are leagues and tournaments in
the spring and fall, when organized basketball in many other
cities lies fallow. A New Yorker may not hone his stroke the way
a suburbanite might, but he sharpens his instincts, and no
position demands instinctive reactions more than the point.
"By the time I turned 16, I'd played more than 300 games outside
high school," says Smith, a former point guard for Archbishop
Molloy High in Briarwood, Queens; North Carolina; and the Houston
Rockets, among other NBA teams. "I've played more park games than
NBA games, and I had a 10-year NBA career. No other city lets you
do that. At Fonde [Recreation Center, Houston's answer to
Harlem's storied Rucker Park] teams play only one organized game
a week. I'd play three a day in New York. Nothing could happen in
a game that I hadn't seen. All I had to do was remember."
All that experience leads to a singular style. One night last
season Smith was watching an ACC game on TV with his brother,
Vincent, when a player in the Virginia backcourt caught Kenny's
eye. "That guy's from New York, right?" he said.
Yes, said Vincent. (The player was Mapp.)
"I could tell by the decisions he made when he got into trouble,"
says Kenny, "what he did to get out of trouble."
Barrett, Brown and Cook have played hundreds of games, almost
always at the point, running the show. The three have actually
played on the same team, too--in the fall before their senior
seasons, during a tournament at I.S. 8 in Queens. "Taliek was the
scorer," says Cook. "Dre was the shooter. I was the passer."
So how did they do? "We lost," Barrett says.
"Not enough big guys," says Brown.
None of the three freshmen gets old blood racing the way Cook
does. Approach Howard Garfinkel, the impresario of the Five-Star
Basketball Camp for the last 34 years, and first he lays down the
caveat that he never saw Bob Cousy or Dick McGuire, New Yorkers
both, play in high school. That posited, he calls Cook "the
greatest passer at his age I've ever seen."
Cook is 6'1", with a tapered torso. At Christ the King High in
Middle Village, Queens, he broke the career assists record of
Erick Barkley, the guard who left St. John's for the NBA last
spring after his junior season. "Most guards are scorers first
and passers second," says Konchalski, who has run his HSBI
Scouting Service for 16 years and has followed the city game for
more than twice that long. "Omar is a passer first. He has an
Oscar Robertson-type body, great touch and enough strength to
throw any pass. But his biggest improvement from his junior to
senior years was how he started to finish plays himself instead
of always looking to pass."
Two things will determine whether Cook becomes a great player.
First, he needs to improve his shooting. "He's a lazy shooter,"
Konchalski says. "He doesn't get his legs into his shot enough,
and he doesn't shoot the same way every time." (Despite those
flaws, however, Cook made 5 of 11 three-pointers while scoring 18
points in St. John's season opening 62-61 win over Kentucky.)
Second, he has to keep his head. He finished his career at Christ
the King on the bench, sitting out a two-game suspension for
bumping an official. "It was a shame, because he's not a bad
kid," says Konchalski. "He had an 82 average and did his
homework, and his mom made him go to church on Sunday. He needs
to learn to channel his emotions. But I'll say this: He wants to
be a great player."
In build and demeanor, even in the shape of his face, Brown
invites comparisons to fellow New Yorker Vinnie Johnson, the
heat-up-in-a-hurry Detroit Piston who was no playmaker. At 6'1",
Brown has lively feet and broad shoulders. "Taliek probably has
the greatest appetite for the game of the three," Konchalski
says. "He's a good penetrator with a low crossover dribble, and
he's a very good finisher in the open court, although he was hurt
by playing against lesser competition in high school [at St.
John's Prep in Astoria, Queens]."
Over the summer, as he prepared to move into the position vacated
by Khalid El-Amin at UConn, Brown worked out and studied video in
Houston with Smith, a former neighbor in the Lefrak City
apartment complex. (Kenny Anderson of the Boston Celtics grew up
in the same apartment building as Smith, which raises the notion
that some sort of covenant in the standard Lefrak renter's
contract pertains to point-guard competency.) "Kenny told Taliek,
'Be ready when you go to UConn,'" Dave Brown says, "not 'Get
ready when you go to UConn.'"
Then there's Barrett, who stands only 5'8" but makes up for
his diminutiveness with end line-to-end line speed. Alone among
the three New York point guards, he won a city title, as a junior
at Manhattan's Rice High. Seton Hall coach and former Duke point
guard Tommy Amaker "fell in love with Andre because he saw a lot
of himself in him," Konchalski says, "and Andre chose Seton Hall
because he saw a lot of himself in Tommy. Andre's a compromise
between the other two--he's not the passer Omar is and not the
scorer Taliek is--but he has an elegant feel for the game to go
with a better outside shot than either of them. And he probably
has the most even temper. He's quiet by nature. He needs to
become a little more vocal."
At the Adidas ABCD Camp during the summer of 1999, Barrett's
passes found camp teammate Eddie Griffin, a 6'9" forward from
Philadelphia's Roman Catholic High, so smartly that Griffin
joined Barrett at Seton Hall, a decision that cinched for the
Pirates the nation's finest recruiting class. Former Seton Hall
playmaker Richie Regan, who starred for the Pirates in the early
1950s, has even agreed to let his number be temporarily brought
out of retirement so that Barrett can wear the 12 that he has
worn since grade school.
"It was just coincidence that we all wound up in the Big East,"
Barrett says. "Each of us found what he thought was the perfect
situation. At first, I think, we all wanted to get away from each
other. Now we feel we can push each other."
As they push one another, they'll also push the Big East. The
conference has fallen far from the heights it reached in the
1980s, when Washington and Jackson hooked up regularly in Madison
Square Garden, and three Big East teams reached the '85 Final
Four. Somewhere along the way the league's founding coaches left
or turned complacent, and a misbegotten six-foul rule tarred the
conference with a reputation for long and ugly games. But Big
East basketball turned ugly in part because teams couldn't make
plays, and teams couldn't make plays because they had no
playmakers. In the ACC, under the batons of northeasterners like
Anderson, Travis Best, Bobby Hurley and Stephon Marbury,
spectacular plays got made all the time. The worst of it was that
several of those ACC point guards came from New York City, the
Big East's geographic center and home of the Garden, where the
league holds its annual tournament and where local kids
presumably dreamed of playing.
Now Barrett, Brown and Cook will all play for Big East schools
and get to compete at the Garden, near such grassroots shrines as
Rucker Park, the Hole and the Cage at West Fourth Street. "This
will be the millennial hardwood equivalent of the
Mantle-Mays-Snider debate," says the 53-year-old Konchalski.
"We'll argue over this the way we used to argue over who's the
best centerfielder in New York."
If there's a metaphor for the point guard in the city that
Whitman called "the world's great thoroughfare," it might be that
of the transit cop. If there's a tour to be taken of the history
of the New York playmaker, let it be taken the way a transit cop
works the beat, flitting from one subway station to the next.
Begin with a trip to have lunch with Jack (Dutch) Garfinkel (no
relation to Howard), 81, and Andrew (Fuzzy) Levane, 80. They're
former teammates two times over, having won an NIT title together
at St. John's in '43 and a championship of the old National
Basketball League with the Rochester Royals in '45-46. Today they
have a lot of chops-busting disagreements, but through it all,
the Oldest (more or less) Living New York Point Guards Tell All.
"Controlled freelancing was our type of ball," Garfinkel says. "I
went to the schoolyard, met Fuzzy and somebody else, we knew
instinctively what to do. Today, forget about the controlled.
They just freelance--because they have skills we didn't have."
"Yeah," says Levane in a rare moment of agreement. "Nobody can
guard a guy one-on-one today. But the crossover? In our day that
was palming. With all their new terminology and skills, guys
today think the game was invented 10 years ago. If they had the
nuances we had, they'd be unstoppable. You know, we loved playing
against the Big Ten. Their guys would turn their heads, always go
for the ball. We'd fake a pass and one of our guys would go in
for a layup."
"The Big Ten," Garfinkel says darkly. "I think they had set
The New York style was so well suited to its surroundings that it
jumped the lines of race, even though the city was no less
segregated then than it is today. "Blacks played like we played,"
says Levane. He nudges Garfinkel. "You see a better-passing team
than the [Harlem] Rens? It was like playing Holman's team."
Holman was Nat Holman, the kid from a Lower East Side tenement
who's thought to have been basketball's first playmaking guard.
Holman played for the Original Celtics, the New York-based
barnstorming professional team of the 1920s and '30s that
predated the Boston Celtics by some 24 years. The Original
Celtics' offense featured what the players called meshing,
continuously run figure-eights. Holman's gift was picking just
the right teammate out of all this dervishing and passing to him
for a layup.
If you're wondering how St. John's and the Royals came to field,
in Levane and Garfinkel, two playmakers at the same time, recall
that for most of its early history, basketball made no
distinction between a one guard and a two guard. By mid-century,
however, coaches had begun to entrust offenses to a single
maestro. Dick McGuire of Rockaway, Queens, was one of the first,
a master of the pass while moving to the basket during his days
at St. John's in the late 1940s. "Dick was so good that Harry
Gallatin [McGuire's teammate with the New York Knicks] got in the
Hall of Fame making nothing but layups," says Levane. Frank
McGuire, Dick's coach at St. John's and no relation, used to say
that he had no set plays because Dick could invent better ones
than Frank could draw up.
After lunch, a phone call finds Cousy at his home in Worcester,
Mass. "Our style emanated from the schoolyard," he says. "The
pick-and-roll, the backdoor, three-man movement where you pass
and pick away." Growing up in St. Albans, Queens, Cousy admired
McGuire's style and then took his idol's half-court game to the
open floor--"Creativity at speed," he calls it--and led Holy Cross
to the eight-team NCAA tournament in 1947, '48 and '50.
In the 1950s and early '60s Tommy Kearns, who starred at St.
Ann's Academy in Manhattan, before playing at North Carolina, and
Lenny Wilkens, who starred at Providence after graduating from
Boys High in Brooklyn, began to strike more of a balance between
passing and scoring. They read defenses--and scored themselves if
that's what the defenses conceded. Bronx-born Nate (Tiny)
Archibald, the prototypical scoring point guard, took things a
step further in the early '70s and is still the only player to
lead the NBA in both scoring and assists in the same season.
Since Archibald, the attributes of the New York guard have
settled into a portfolio of essentials. One is the all-court
consciousness that Cousy sees in 13-year NBA vet Mark Jackson,
who, like Cousy, grew up in St. Albans, Queens: "He works his way
in, with his head up, and sees the floor well without ever being
out of control." Cousy points to other New Yorkers--Washington at
Syracuse and, more recently, Anderson and Marbury at Georgia
Tech--who took the ball to the hoop but still kept everyone else
Over the past century few of the city's finest playmakers have
been great shooters. Cousy considers that a blessing. "You only
have to shoot well enough to keep the defense honest," he says.
An honest defender must play up on his man and thus becomes
vulnerable to a quick first step, which gets a playmaker into the
lane, where plays are made. A New York City guard once squeezed
off a dozen or more passes before finding a cutter for a layup;
today his most valuable asset isn't his hands but his feet.
For every guard whose reputation spread beyond the boroughs,
however, New York has produced another who, though he could bring
dazzling order to any court, couldn't tame the disorderly terrain
of his own life. Longtime Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran
says that Danny Power (St. Ann's, 1953) was "better than Cousy."
Pee Wee Kirkland (Charles Evans Hughes High in Manhattan, '64,
then Norfolk State, '68) was a schoolyard legend who simply
walked out of the Chicago Bulls' camp one day in '68. SI cover
boy and playground star Edward (Booger) Smith was kicked off the
basketball team at Westinghouse High in Brooklyn in 1993, during
his junior year, for shooting dice in school. Billy Lawrence
(Molloy, '61) once scored 21 points in the fourth quarter against
a box-and-one, only to flail for a semester at North Carolina and
two more at St. John's, whereupon he became...a transit cop.
Jab step and cross over to Manhattan--to Boys' Harbor, a rooftop
court in East Harlem that overlooks the Central Park treetops.
It's a summer Saturday, and the three Big East-bound freshmen are
here with their families. So too is a human time line of New York
point guards, from Kearns through Archibald, Dean Meminger, Sam
Worthen, Washington, Smith, Rod Strickland, Anderson, Derrick
Phelps and Shaheen Holloway to Tinsley and Mapp. The pretext is a
photo shoot, but it quickly turns into a hoops block party.
The players gather in knots of two and three, munching on
sandwiches and catching up. Listen and you hear buzz about
Marbury's cousin, Sebastian Telfair, who'll be a freshman at
Lincoln High in Brooklyn this season. (Telfair was only 5'8" and
had just turned 15, but in the Rumble in the Bronx tournament a
year ago, he led Brooklyn USA to the 16-and-under title.) You
hear Curran, who coached Smith and Anderson at Molloy, forswear
credit for what those two became. "All these kids are developed
by the time we get them," he says. "We just polish them up at
bit, teach them discipline." You hear Anderson marvel at the
precocious physique of Brown. "When I was in high school, I was
little," Anderson says. "These kids develop much more quickly."
Meminger, natty in a coat and tie, moves among the guests
collecting phone numbers and talking about his playing days at
Marquette in the late 1960s. Someone points out Kearns--the floor
leader of North Carolina's 1957 NCAA champions, who looks a bit
out of place in his golf shirt and slacks--to Taliek Brown and
then asks Brown if he thinks he could take him. "I don't know,"
Brown says. "He won a title."
So the afternoon unfolds. "You know," says Smith, "when I got to
the Rockets, people were saying the three best centers in the NBA
were Hakeem [Olajuwon], [Patrick] Ewing and David Robinson. I'd
tell them, You know why? 'Cause all of them have a New York
guard--me, Mark Jackson and Rod Strickland. We were the ones
making 'em great."
Smith takes a stab at the essence of what shapes Gotham's point
guards. "Dunk, and people anywhere will ooh and aah," he says.
"But you can wow a crowd in New York with ball handling and
passing. It's all about making decisions. Here you make hundreds
of 'em every day. You make decisions just crossing the street."
Others join in. "It's about getting the job done by getting
everybody going, about being able to take somebody," Washington
says. "That's what people want to see. You make a move that puts
somebody on the floor--Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx,
everybody's gonna know about it."
"It's about choreographed spontaneity," Meminger says. "Like
jazz, people getting together and just playing. I'd say we were
the drummers. We controlled the tempo."
Tinsley surveys the span of years represented around him and
considers the game these men all play. "Different faces," he
says. "That's the only thing that changes."
Phelps, a former Christ the King High and North Carolina
playmaker, stands in one corner of the rooftop court. He has
brought a friend: Donald Williams, the one-trick jump shooter who
was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1993 Final Four, in
which the Tar Heels won the NCAA title. Williams is a small-town
Southern kid, as Mayberry-innocent as Phelps is streetwise. Not
once during the afternoon does he leave Phelps's side. He
mentions that he now plays professionally in Germany, as Phelps
does, and for a moment it seems possible that Williams has
permitted the entire six years since his departure from Chapel
Hill to unspool without once daring to leave the ambit of his Tar
Heel teammate, as if a good point guard were equal parts
bodyguard, valet and global positioning device.
Traffic light, floor trader, MetroCard. Rollerblader, bike
messenger, beat-keeping man on the traps at some downtown club.
For playing the point, there are eight million metaphors in the
Naked City. And in the electronic pleasure dome that is Uncle
Dave's home in Queens, there's one more still: the universal
cnnsi.com. For more on New York City's best point guards,
including interviews and video from SI's photo shoot, go to
big apple corps
SI assembled a blue-ribbon panel of New York City hoopheads to
come up with a ranking of the alltime Top 40 Gotham playmakers.
When all the arguing over which player belonged where came to a
stop, this list was the result:
1 Bob Cousy--Holy Cross (class of 1950)*--Went to three NCAAs,
winning title in 1947; took Celtics to six NBA titles; voted one
of league's Top 50 alltime players.
2 Nate (Tiny) Archibald--UTEP ('70)--Another NBA Top 50; only
player to lead pros in scoring (34.0 points per game) and assists
(11.4) in same season (1972-73).
3 Lenny Wilkens--Providence ('60)--Top 50 electee; only NBAer in
Hall of Fame as both player (16.5 points, 6.7 assists per game)
and coach (1183 wins through Sunday).
4 Dick McGuire--St. John's ('49)--Pass-first playmaker led Knicks
to three NBA Finals; held franchise assists record for two
decades after retirement.
5 Stephon Marbury--Georgia Tech ('99)--National player of year at
Lincoln High; spent one year at Tech before joining NBA, where he
has averaged 19.1 points, 8.4 assists.
6 Nat Holman--CCNY ('17)--Leader of Original Celtics barnstorming
teams in '20s later became only coach to win NCAA and NIT titles
in same year (at CCNY in 1950).
7 Kenny Anderson--Georgia Tech ('93)--Needle-thin penetrator led
the Yellow Jackets to 1990 Final Four; nine-year NBA veteran is
Nets' career assists leader.
8 Mark Jackson--St. John's ('87)--Pure passer, Jackson was
assists leader of NCAA (9.1 per game in 1985-86) and NBA (11.4 in
9 Bobby Wanzer--Seton Hall ('47)--A Hall of Famer and five-time
NBA All-Star who led the Rochester Royals to a championship in
10 Kenny Smith--North Carolina ('87)--Tar Heels' All-America and
second leading assists man alltime; won two championships with
Rockets during 10-year NBA career.
11 Rod Strickland--DePaul ('88)--Averaged 16.6 points and 6.4
assists per game at DePaul; led NBA in assists (10.5 per game)
with Washington in 1997-98.
12 Dean Meminger--Marquette ('71)--The Dream led Rice High to
three city finals; averaged 21.2 points a game in leading
Marquette to 1970 NIT title.
13 Dwayne (Pearl) Washington--Syracuse ('88)--Second alltime in
assists, fourth in steals and first in excitement for Orangemen;
fizzled in pros.
14 Red Holzman--CCNY ('43)--Coach who took Knicks to 1970 and '73
titles was once Rochester Royals guard who beat New York in '51
15 Bobby McDermott--no college--Left Flushing High after one year
to turn pro and starred in old ABL and NBL in 1930s and '40s;
voted to Hall of Fame in '88.
16 Vern Fleming--Georgia ('84)--Bulldogs' alltime leading scorer;
became double threat (14.3 points, 7.4 assists a game in 1989-90)
17 John Roche--South Carolina ('71)--Beat Meminger's Rice team
three times en route to 1967 city crown; averaged 22.5 points in
college, double figures in nine pro seasons.
18 Alan Seiden--St. John's ('59)--Distributor with a scorer's
touch graduated from Jamaica High as city's alltime leading
scorer; led St. John's to 1959 NIT title.
19 Mike Dunleavy--South Carolina ('76)--Trail Blazers coach was
Nazareth High playmaker, Gamecocks star and later three-point
specialist during his 11 years in the NBA.
20 Jim O'Brien--Boston College ('71)--Ohio State coach was high
school All-America; holds BC single-game assists mark (18);
played four years in the old ABA.
21 Armond Hill--Princeton ('76)--Two-time high school All-America
at Bishop Ford in Brooklyn; led Princeton in assists en route to
'75 NIT title. Played eight NBA seasons.
22 Ed Cota--North Carolina (2000)--Third alltime in NCAA and first
among Tar Heels in assists; first player in ACC to have 1,000
points, 1,000 assists, 500 rebounds.
23 Oscar Schectman--LIU '46--All-America led Blackbirds to 1941
NIT championship; was first Knicks captain and led them in
assists in inaugural season.
24 Nurlin Tarrant--Tennessee State ('59)--Inspired passer took
Jefferson High to 1954 city championship; starred alongside Dick
Barnett as Tigers won three NAIA titles.
25 Tommy Kearns--North Carolina ('58)--At 5'11", jumped center
against Wilt and led undefeated Tar Heels to triple-OT win over
Kansas in 1957 NCAA title game.
26 Sid Tannenbaum--NYU ('47)--All-America playmaker averaged 13.2
points per game while leading the Violets to the 1945 NCAA
27 Pee Wee Kirkland--Norfolk State ('68)--Blacktop dribbling
wizard spurned Bulls tryout for street life; once scored 135
points in prison game.
28 Isaac (Rabbit) Walthour--no college--Playground star made it to
the NBA with the Hawks in 1953 despite never having played
29 Erick Barkley--St. John's (2002)--Portland draftee was heart of
Red Storm, averaging 16.0 points, 4.5 assists per game as
sophomore last year.
30 Craig (Speedy) Claxton--Hofstra (2000)--Christ the King High
star averaged 16.9 points and 5.5 assists per game for Hofstra;
first-round pick of 76ers.
31 Sam Worthen--Marquette ('80)--Playground legend backed his man
down Mark Jackson-style. Played two seasons in the NBA.
32 Rafer Alston--Fresno State ('98)--Bucks backup and Rucker
league god averaged 7.3 assists a game in 1997-98 with Bulldogs.
33 Fuzzy Levane--St. John's ('45)--Opposing coaches had no
fuzzbuster for this 6'2" guard--or backcourt mate Dutch
Garfinkel--of the Rochester Royals.
34 Billy Lawrence--St. John's ('65)--Sweet shooter for Archbishop
Molloy High in 1960 once scored 21 in fourth quarter against a
35 Reggie Carter--St. John's ('80)--Recruited by Rick Pitino to
Hawaii; transferred home to St. John's, where he became
All-America as a senior.
36 Barney Sedran--CCNY ('12)--At 5'4", smallest player in Hall of
Fame; he and backcourt partner Max Friedman, called the Heavenly
Twins, teamed from 1907 into the '30s.
37 Derrick Phelps--North Carolina ('94)--Won city championship in
1989 with Christ the King; averaged 9.2 points and 5.3 assists as
senior for Tar Heels.
38 Shaheen Holloway--Seton Hall (2000)--New Yorker became
McDonald's All-America at St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, N.J., and
later Pirates' alltime assists leader.
39 Jamaal Tinsley--Iowa State (2001)--Known as the Abuser in
Rucker league; a leading preseason candidate for Wooden Award
40 Kenny Satterfield--Cincinnati (2003)--Led Rice High to city and
state titles with 24.5-point, 5.9-assist averages as senior;
named city player of the year.
*Original graduating class is used even for players who left
These three Big East freshmen could be New York's finest crop
since Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith and Pearl Washington in 1983
Holman's gift was for picking just the right teammate out of the
Celtics' dervishing movement and passing to him for a layup
"Dunk, and people anywhere will ooh and aah," says Smith, "but
you can wow a crowd in New York with ball handling and passing."
Smith was watching a stylish player on TV last year, and he
immediately asked his brother, "That guy's from New York, right?"