During a break between the first and second quarters of Friday's game between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, 2013 Hall of Fame inductee and former Warrior Bernard King was honored with an on-court tribute before the sell out crowd at Oracle Arena.
King, 57, was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year to which he said humbly:
You're not entitled to the Hall of Fame. It was a very gratifying thing."
He spent two seasons (1980-1982) with the Warriors averaging 22.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He was named the first ever Comeback Player of the Year during the '81-82 season and followed it by earning All-NBA honors and an All-Star selection for his '81-82 campaign when the small forward averaged 23.2 points per game.
A non flamboyant analytical player, the Brooklyn native and Tennessee product was a four-time All-Star during a 14-year career with the Nets, Jazz, Warriors, Knicks and Bullets. He led the league in scoring with 32.9 points per game in 1984-1985 and notably shot better than 50 percent for seven consecutive seasons (1979-1985).
He reflected on his two years with Golden State to a small group of media before Friday's game:
It was a very special time. I matured as a player in terms of my ability to play the game at the highest level. My understanding of the game grew as a result of of playing under Al Attles and I had some great teammates. Each and everyone of them was a joy to be around. I loved the Bay, and still do - even though it's been 22 years."
After the '81-82 season King signed with the Knicks, but the Warriors exercised their right of first refusal, matching the offer then trading him to the Knicks for Micheal Ray Richardson and a draft pick. Regarding the transaction King said:
I had some mixed feelings about it, obviously because I really found myself here and I wanted to remain. But I think if you ask Al (Attles) that if you had the chance to play for your hometown team he would want that as well. Mixed feelings."
But despite playing just 160 games with the Warriors, King forged lifelong friendships during that time. He talks almost daily to ex-teammate and Brooklyn native World B. Free and still speaks highly of former head coach Attles:
There are coaches and then there are special coaches. Al was in a class by himself. He was just a great personality to be around everyday. You wanted to give your all to him every night on the floor."
King closed the presser by sharing a personal story about the time when he was told he'd never play basketball again. Just 55 games into the '84-85 season he suffered a devastating torn ACL in his right knee prompting three doctors to tell him he was finished. But King thought otherwise:
I'm from Brooklyn, and there's a toughness about that. If someone tells you you can't do something you're going to go out and prove it."
[VIDEO: Bernard King's injury moment]
Following his three-week hospital stay King emerged and for the briefest moment was depressed. He talked about what brought him out of that state:
Two ducks landed in my backyard. I've never had any ducks in my backyard. These two ducks began pecking at the glass as if to say Bernard come out. I got in my wheelchair, asked for someone to bring me some bread and rolled myself outside. Normally ducks would fly away, they didn't they just backed up and I fed them. They came back every single day in the morning until dusk they would sit there on my terrace deck, and they did that for three months, every single day until the day I got out of my wheelchair and they never came back - You never know where your angels come from."
After missing a combined two years, King returned late in the '86-87 season to play in six games in which he averaged 22.7 points. He remarkably averaged 20 plus points in four of his seven post injury years, making the All-Star team in 1991 and retiring in 1993.