It’s all about the assist.

Thanks to Tony F. for sending me the really cool NBA All-Star pull-out section from the Daily News dedicated to the greatest basketball players to come out of New York City.

Daily News NYC pull out

When you think of NYC, basketball comes to mind. (Sorry, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind)

The city produced so many great players over the years.

Didn’t matter where you were; you could always find a good run in any of the five boroughs.

I had the pleasure of playing ball in all five.

From talking to many friends that still live in and around the city, it’s not like that anymore.

What happened?

Here’s the list of the Top 10 from the city (Via the New York Daily News).

1-Kareem Abdul-Jabber

2-Bob Cousy

3-Chris Mullin

4-Dolph Schayes 

5-Lenny Wilkins

6-Richie Guerin

7-Bernard King

8-Connie Hawkins

9-Billy Cunningham

10-Nate Archibald

I think there could be a serious debate over this list.

So we’re at Farrell’s, standing at the bar. Discuss…


This entry was posted in Brooklyn, New York City and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to THE CITY GAME

  1. Kevin Mahoney says:

    It seems like they didn’t consider anyone who wasn’t successful in the NBA. I read the article last week and the top 25 had Kenny Smith and Mark Jackson, but no Pearl Washington. When they all came out of high school together some people thought Washington was the best of the three, and he then went on to have an amazing career at Syracuse, but no NBA success like the other two . Also, no Fly Williams.

    • hoopscoach says:


      I believe it is the body of work. You are right, Pearl was incredible.

      They also say Albert King was one of the best high school players ever.

  2. George Farrell says:

    Since the Daily News pullout section speaks to the NBA All-Stars, I assume the top ten list reflects what the players accomplished in the NBA. That being said, hard to argue against the above top ten. I suppose you could get cute and mention Michael Jordan who left Brooklyn as a toddler or Jeff Mullins from Queens but the list looks pretty solid to me.

    • hoopscoach says:

      George, we have to go on all-time accomplishments. Body of work.

      Jordan spent one year in Brooklyn. His dad was sent there to train for his job. Mrs.Jordan gave birth, the Jordan’s were gone in a year.

      He is from North Carolina…

      • George Farrell says:

        I guess if you are going to include high school and college you gotta think about Stephon Marbury, York Larese, Bob Kauffman, Sonny Dove, Larry Lembo, Ed Conlin, Tony Jackson, Tom Stith, Derrick Chievous, Keydren Clark and Lloyd Free. Hard to know where to draw the line.

      • hoopscoach says:

        George, I would go with body of work – entire career. Success in the NBA/ABA…

  3. Jim Casey says:

    The Hawk should be higher, probably #2
    Roger Brown should be in the top 10

    • Jim Casey says:

      I mean # 3 for the Hawk

    • hoopscoach says:


      You make valid points…

      • George Farrell says:

        If we are going with entire body of work cannot see Hawkins or Brown included. No college careers at all due to association with Jack Molinas. Both guys had solid pro careers later and undoubtedly would have been outstanding collegiate and NBA stars if they had not been penalized by the NCAA and the NBA. I am not one of the warm fuzzy guys who believed that Hawkins or Brown were innocent lambs devoured by Molinas. They rode around Brooklyn all summer in a Cadillac convertible with pretty girls and all the fame and glory, borrowing money from Molinas and using his Cadillac. Foolish young men who made foolish choices. I still stand by my man, World B. Free, in the top ten. Great career in high school, college and the NBA.

      • hoopscoach says:


        We’re going to have to disagree on Hawk.

        Career 18 PPG and 8RPG in the NBA/ABA. He was a five-time all star. Come on man!

        Missed out on major chance to develop as a young player.

        You call him a foolish young man? Yeah maybe he was but what does that say for the adults who ruined college career?

        Girls and cars? LOL…kids today are doing that. Probably getting more money.

        Hawkins, as an 18 year old was taken advantage of…no ands, ifs or buts.

        As for Roger, 10 years in the ABA – 18 PPG and 6 rebounds. Not too shabby.

  4. Maureeen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    Street ball..Earl The Goat

    • George Farrell says:

      Coach..back then.everybody in the NYC basketball world knew about Jack Molinas and his unsavory crew. Dude had been banned for life from the NBA in the mid-1950’s for gambling/betting on games while a star at Columbia U. To suggest Hawkins and Brown did not know this guy or his reputation or that they were not warned by adults to stay far away from him defies belief. Molinas pursued these two prep stars and wooed them with flashy cars and money under the table ( a loan?) knowing that once he got them hooked he owned them. Molinas, who was a brilliant student at Stuyvesant HS and Columbia, took a page right out of Arnold Rothstein’s playbook. Hook theses kids with small favors and then reel them in slowly. Molinas knew he had another full year to seduce these kids because college freshmen were ineligible for varsity play back then. I never bought Hawkins’ story that he was an innocent victim. As for your previous comment about body of work, how can you include guys who never played college ball? There were plenty of young guys ruined by Jack Molinas who were as naive as Hawkins and Brown and took really hard falls. The real sad story here was Tony Jackson who was every bit as good as Hawkins and Brown who never took a dime from anyone and was banned for life because he did not report a bribe attempt which Jackson thought was a joke. Tony never had a second chance like Hawkins and Brown and drifted off into obscurity. It really irks me that guys try to put halos on Hawkins and Brown. These dudes knew exactly what they were doing and who they were dealing with. End of rant.

      • hoopscoach says:

        Thanks George – Body of Work, from HS to the pro’s. How can I include guys who never played college ball?

        Roger Brown was never accused of point shaving and his only crime was associating with Molinas. Hawkins was kept from seeking legal counsel while being grilled by New York City detectives who were investigating the scandal. Hawkins never admitted to any wrongdoing

        Hawk didn’t play at Iowa because of Freshmen being ineligible, but he was the best player there, and that included Don Nelson who was the star. Hawk never got a chance to play college ball because the authorities took it away from him. Iowa turned their back on him. The “kid” never did anything. Today, that would never happen.

        As for not playing college ball, correct me if I am wrong but LeBron, Kobe and Kevin Garnett never played college ball.

        As for “Body of Work.” I am talking about what the writer of the pull-out might have gone on. And that would probably include from their HS days all the way through to their NBA days.

        You have guys who were great HS players, some who never made it after that then you have guys like Pearl who never made it in the pro’s.

        So when you compile a list, the author of the list should indicate what he is basing his list on.

        I talk with many people who saw Hawk and Roger play, they all rave about them.

  5. Andrew Purdy says:

    What about my man Mike Dunleavy from Nazareth? I remember Ziggy bringing Dunleavy down to play against us in the East 5th st Summer league championship game with Gigs and Logan. Red told Ziggy – Don’t worry, we have Magic on his way down…If I remember correctly, Gigs gave Dunleavy a few shots that probably shortened his NBA career.

    • hoopscoach says:


      That was a classic night! Ziggy was the ultimate GM of summer basketball. He once brought Scooter Barry to West 4th street; fresh off his NCAA championship season…

      You are right, Mike was a heck of a player.

      Hope all is well.

  6. jimmy vac says:

    Even Molinas stated he never talked to Hawkins and Brown about point shaving and he had nothing to gain by doing it. Hawk was like Dr. j but maybe a better passer.

    • hoopscoach says:

      These “street agents” are all over the players. Been like that for years. They are adults who want to hang around teenagers. Popular teens that is. It’s ugly for sure. Hawk’s upbringing was tough. Again, read the book “Foul.” Awesome insight.

  7. Jim Casey says:

    Tony Jackson’s case was tragic, but he was not the all-around player that the Hawk was, or even Roger Brown. Tony was a great long distance shooter, but didn’t have the rest of the skills that Hawklns and to a lesser degree, Brown, did

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