Bernard King, the iconic New York Knicks scorer of the 1980s who put on more high-scoring displays in that era than anyone except Michael Jordan, will be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. This year's class, which will also reportedly include Gary Payton, will be announced Monday in Atlanta, King's current home, before the NCAA National Championship game.
King's name has surfaced in some chatter around the Knicks this week because of Carmelo Anthony's dynamite scoring burst. After hanging 50 points on the Miami Heat, 'Melo scored 40 in his following game against the Atlanta Hawks. Had he reached the half-century mark in Atlanta, he would have become the first Knick to do so since King in the 1984-1985 season in which he scored 32.5 points per game to lead the league.
King's six-year run with the Knicks from 1982-1987 is a soft spot in many fans' hearts, simply because he was so electric and single-handedly led the Knicks to relevancy. In 1984, the Knicks took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. King scored 34.8 points per game in the playoffs on 57.4 percent shooting on a team where the second-best player was Bill Cartwright — admittedly a better Bill Cartwright than the one that won rings with Jordan in the early 1990s — and the point guard was Ray Williams.
King has long been a noted absence in the minds of Knicks fans, who adore him. Need proof? One of the frequent commenters on SB Nation's Knicks blog, Posting and Toasting, took the name "Bernard King's Game Face." Although the peak of his career was cut short after suffering knee injuries that reduced his explosiveness, his indelible impact after electrifying Madison Square Garden was one of the legacies in basketball's 1980s explosion. Congratulations to Mr. King.