Four Of The Best New York Knicks Players From the '80s

The New York Knicks are one of the least successful teams in today’s NBA, having made the playoffs just once since 2013. The Knicks made several significant changes to their front office and coaching staff ahead of last season which saw them become one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference, making it past regular season play for the first time in eight years.

While the Knicks haven’t seen much success in recent times, they are the most valuable team in the NBA and play in the league’s biggest market. The Knicks also command lots of attention when it comes to betting but those favoring Pennsylvania Sports Betting could grab odds when they face the Philadelphia 76ers in late February.

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New York also boasts two titles, having claimed the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 1970 and 1973.

They’ve also had some great players over the years. This list focuses on the 1980s, an era in which the Knicks were a real threat. Below are four of the best players to suit up for them in the '80s.

Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson is one of the best point guards to ever play in the NBA and remains a standard when it comes to assists. As a head coach, Jackson is responsible for setting the groundwork upon which the Golden State Warriors became a dynasty and was unfortunate to have been let go before his work began to bear fruit.

The former player and coach, who now works as a television analyst, was born in New York and was drafted by the Knicks as the No.18 draft pick in 1978. He was named Rookie of the Year in his first season and went on to be one of the most dependable backcourt players. Jackson remained with the Knicks until 1992 before stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, and Toronto Raptors before returning to New York for the 2001/02 season. He played for the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets before retiring in 2004.

Jackson is No.5 on the NBA’s all-time assists leaders list, having delivered 10,334 over the span of his career. He only failed to make the playoffs three seasons out of his 17 in the NBA and made a trip to the finals with the Pacers in 2000.

Bernard King

The former forward played for the Knicks from 1982-87 and is one of the best players to ever put on their uniform. King, a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Team entrant, won the scoring title while playing for New York in 1985.

King was drafted as the seventh overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the New York Nets, who relocated to New Jersey two months later. He was one of the most formidable scoring threats in the 80s and finished the 1984/85 season with an average of 32.9 points a game. He set a franchise record for the Nets as a rookie, scoring the most points for a first-year player with 1,909 over the season at an average of 24.2 points a game.

King played for the Jazz and Warriors prior to playing for the Knicks, with the Warriors trading him for Michael Ray Richardson in 1982. He went on to cement his name as a Knicks legend and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

Patrick Ewing

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The 11-time All-Star is recognized as one of the greatest-ever NBA players and was probably only denied a championship by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Ewing, who’s regarded as the best player to ever represent the Knicks, was drafted by the team in 1985 and received the Rookie of the Year Award the following year.

Despite being a legendary Knicks figure, Ewing had to deal with the annoyance of being stopped by security guards at Madison Square Garden in March of 2021.

"I do want to say one thing, though. I thought this was my building," he told reporters after the incident. "And I feel terrible that I'm getting stopped, accosted, [people] asking for passes.

"Everybody in this building should know who the hell I am, and I'm getting stopped -- I can't move around this building. I was like, 'What the hell? Is this Madison Square Garden?'"

The former center was named to the All-NBA First Team on one occasion and the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times.

Bill Cartwright

Bill Cartwright won his three titles with the Bulls alongside Jordan and Scottie Pippen but made his name with the New York Knicks. Drafted as the third overall pick by the latter in 1979, Cartwright spent nine years in New York and was an All-Star in his rookie season.

The former center averaged north of 20 points a game in his first two terms with the Knicks but was unfortunate to see injuries cost him lots of playing time later on. Having played no less than 77 games a season in his first five years, he would miss the entire 1984/85 season with a series of foot injuries. The team drafted Ewing the following year and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Cartwright could only play two games in 1985/86. He returned for the 1986/87 season and would start games together with Ewing but was benched the next season.

Cartwright joined the Bulls in 1988, with Chicago sending Charles Oakley the other way. He went on to help the team win its first three championships before joining the Seattle Supersonics as a free agent in 1994.

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