After all these years, New York Knicks legend Bernard King’s scoring prowess still ranks among the greats of all-time.
Perhaps scoring 50 points in an NBA game isn’t quite the novelty that it once was. Kevin Durant accomplished the feat Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, but this season, a surprising number of players have scored 50 points in a game. So far, it’s been done 11 times by seven different players. Looking at NBA history, the names that have scored 50 points in a game are legendary.
Wilt Chamberlain once averaged 50 points in a season in 1961-62. He also holds the record for most points in a game when he scored 100 against the Knicks on March 2, 1962. In total, Chamberlain scored over 50 points 122 times in his career, including the playoffs. Michael Jordan is second on that list and remains the only other player in NBA history to score 50 points in a game 40 times (including playoffs).
Despite the accomplishments of Chamberlain and Jordan, there are only four players in NBA history that have accomplished this feat with three different teams.
Three of the names are in the NBA Hall of Fame. Two are former Knicks. One is still active in the NBA.
Wilt Chamberlain accomplished the feat with the 76ers, Warriors and Lakers. Moses Malone did so with the Rockets, 76ers and Bullets (now Wizards). Jamal Crawford is the only active player on the list and has done so with the Knicks, Warriors and Bulls. Crawford scored a career-high 52 points against the Miami Heat during a 116-96 Knicks win on January 26, 2007. Crawford is one of just five Knicks in team history to score 50 points at Madison Square Garden.
Bernard King is the final player, scoring 50 points in a game with the Warriors, Knicks and Bullets. King was the most explosive scorer in New York Knicks history. Along with Crawford, King is another of five Knicks who scored 50 points at MSG. King holds the record for most 50 point games in Knicks history at MSG with three and overall with five. He and Carmelo Anthony are the only Knicks to score 60 points in a game.
King recorded consecutive 50 point games back on January 31 and February 1 of 1984. He is one of just six players to do so since the ABA-NBA merger. In the 1984 NBA Playoffs, King put on his own personal showcase. During the Knicks first-round series against the Detroit Pistons, King averaged 42.6 PPG. In the decisive Game Five, King, with two dislocated fingers, scored 44 in the Knicks 127-123 overtime win.
In the 1984-85 season, King led the NBA in scoring, averaging 32.1 PPG. However, his season was cut short when he tore his knee up against the Kansas City Kings on March 23, 1985. King was never the same player for the Knicks.
King played just six games for the Knicks during the next two seasons, as his knee never recovered enough to keep him in the lineup. The Knicks released him following the 1986-87 season.
Despite not having the same quickness and movement in his knee, King revived his career with the Washington Bullets. In four seasons with the Bullets, King averaged 24.2 PPG and made the All-Star team in the 1990-91 season.
While the Knicks have had great scorers in their history, including Patrick Ewing, Carmelo Anthony, Richie Guerin and Bob McAdoo. King holds the franchise record for PPG in a season with 32.9. He remains the only player in franchise history to average over 30 points in a season.
Despite many players following in his footsteps and scoring 50 points, King’s accomplishments still stand the test of time.