New York Knicks: The overlooked greatness of Bernard King

Bernard King, New York Knicks. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Bernard King, New York Knicks. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
New York Knicks
New York Knicks team huddle. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Point scoring machine

In his third New York Knicks season, King came into his own. There were plenty of highlights. For example, on Christmas Day, 1984, King delivered, just like Santa Claus. He set the New York Knicks single-game scoring record with 60-points. That record stood for almost 20 years until Carmelo Anthony put up 62 in a 2014 contest.

That was one of the many memorable games King played that year. He broke 40 points on 13 different occasions, including three games with 50 or more. His 32.9 points-per-game average led the entire league.

That was the highlight. Unfortunately, Cartwright missed the entire season with a foot injury. With him gone, the Knicks couldn’t matchup most nights, and they finished with the fourth-worst record in the league. But it got worse.

Toward the end of a meaningless game on March 23, 1985, King’s monumental season ended. He blew out his knee trying to stop Reggie Theus of the Kansas City Kings from making a fast-break layup. King suffered a torn ACL and broken leg that required, what was at the time, major surgery.

Since 1985 advances in medical science, especially with sports-related injuries, have been exponential. Back then, an injury such as the one King suffered was virtually a career-ender. It took over two years of agonizing rehabilitation for number 30 to make his return. He played in the final six games of the 1986-87 season and averaged 22.5 points.