Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bernard King became one of the most explosive basketball players in history. Playing for the University of Tennessee from 1975 – 1977, Coach Ray Mears called him “the quickest basketball player I have ever seen.”
King was named SEC Player of the Year and First Team All-American in all three of his collegiate seasons; additionally, he still holds the highest scoring average in UT basketball history at 25.8 points per game. King also led the SEC in rebounds for two seasons with a career average of 13.2 per game.
Bernard King ranks as the Vol’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,962 points. He was selected 7th overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the New York Nets (who later became the New Jersey Nets).
During his rookie season (1977-78), King set a franchise record for most points scored in a season with 1,909. At 6’7″ and 205 pounds, King epitomized the NBA small forward of the 1980s. King was known as a tremendous scorer, leading the NBA in 1985 with 32.9 points per game.
During the 1983-84 season, he would surpass his rookie record with a 2,027-point season, earning the first of his back-to-back All-NBA selections. King would also be chosen three times to play in the NBA All-Star Game.
In 1984, as a New York Knick, King made history by becoming the first player in twenty years to score at least 50 points in consecutive games. The next season, still with the Knicks, he became just the tenth player in NBA history to score more than 60 points in a single game.
At the peak of his career, however, King suffered a devastating knee injury. It required major reconstruction and caused King to miss the entire ’85-’86 season and all but the final six games of the ’86-’87 campaign. Despite averaging 22.7 points per game during his first six games back, he was traded to the Washington Bullets where he raised his scoring average each year and returned to the All-Star Game in 1991, his final full season in the NBA.
After a year-and-a-half hiatus and a brief 32-game stint with the New Jersey Nets at the end of the ’93 season, knee problems forced King into retirement.
He retired with 19,665 points in 874 games, for an average of 22.5 points per game during his career. In 2004, King was nominated for election into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was officially inducted in 2013. King currently works as a part time broadcaster on NBA TV and the MSG Network.