In honor of the Nets moving to Brooklyn, I give you my top five greatest basketball players of all-time from Brooklyn. Keep in mind, it’s the entire body of work.
1-Billy Cunningham: Erasmus Hall – “The Kangaroo Kid” scored 21 PPG and pulled down 10 RPG over an 11 year career. Billy C. could drive the ball to the rim and also pull up for the mid-range. In 1970, Cunningham had 3 straight triple doubles. Came off the bench for one of the greatest teams ever, 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers. 5-time all-star. Knee problems cut his career short in 1976; he was 32.
2-Lenny Wilkins: Boys High – Played just one season at Boys; his senior year. The left-handed point guard played 15 years in the league. 9-time NBA all-star. Considered to have one of the highest basketball I.Q.’s in the game. Wilkins dished out 6 assists per game. Scored 16 PPG. Wilkins could score and share the ball. Was like a coach on the floor. Matter of fact, he was a player-coach in Portland.
3-Connie Hawkins: Boys High – “The Hawk”. I read a great book about him titled, “Foul.” Must read by David Wolf. Hawkins scored 18 PPG over 9 years in the ABA and NBA. 5-time all-star. Attended the University of Iowa but never played a game for the Hawkeyes due to his alleged connection with point shaving. Hawkins was never found guilty of any charge.
4-Chris Mullin: Xaverian – The smooth-stroking, 6’6″ left-hander with the feathery touch scored 18 PPG over 16 years. 5-time all-star. Mullin pulled down 4 rebounds per game and dished out 3 assists during his career. All-time leading scorer at St. John’s University. Great teammate, excellent passer and always played hard. Member of the original Dream Team. Played his grammar school ball at STA. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. Now announcing games for ESPN.
5-Bernard King: Ft. Hamilton – One of the toughest offensive players in the low post I have ever seen. Not to mention he was like an express train on the fastbreak. BK scored 22 PPG over 14 years. 4-time NBA all-star. Take away his knee injury, his numbers are a lot higher. Dropped 60 on the Nets on Christmas Day in 1984 but lost the game. Can’t forget his back-to-back 50 point nights in ’84 vs the Spurs and Mavericks. The Hall of Fame is making a major omission by not having him in Springfield. (Update: On September 8, 2013 BK was inducted into the HOF)