Former Vol Bernard King's career culminates with induction into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Inductee Bernard King speaks during the enshrinement ceremony for the 2013 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Photo by Steven Senne

Inductee Bernard King speaks during the enshrinement ceremony for the 2013 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

He started on the playgrounds in Brooklyn, spent three seasons rewriting the record books at the University of Tennessee and went on to play 14 strong seasons in the NBA. On Sunday, Bernard King’s basketball road reached its culmination as he became the first UT men’s player to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“To say I’m delighted to be here would be an understatement,” King said during his induction speech Sunday at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass. “I simply want all the kids who are watching to know that anything you dream of and set a goal for can be achieved through hard work, dedication, the desire to achieve and commitment.”

King was inducted along with players Gary Payton and Dawn Staley and coaches Guy Lewis, Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian and Sylvia Hatchell.

King selected 2006 Hall of Fame inductee Dominique Wilkins as his presenter for the Enshrinement Ceremony. In his nearly 11-minute speech, King spoke about his time with the Vols from 1974-77.

“At Tennessee I teamed with a great player in Ernie Grunfeld and a great coach in Ray Mears,” King said. “I was fortunate to team with Ernie Grunfeld. We had the best chemistry of any players I ever played with, on any level.”

King was a first-team All-American and SEC Player of the Year all three seasons with the Vols. He holds a school-record with 62 double-doubles and is second in points scored despite only playing for three seasons. Tennessee posted a 61-20 record during King’s career.

King averaged 22.5 points in 14 NBA seasons with five teams.

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Comments » 4

Caspian writes:

Bernard King was, without a doubt, the best player to ever wear orange. His build was somewhat slight. More of a finesse than a power player. I can still picture the way he moved - almost daintily with mincing steps around the basket. With King, anything was possible.

I remember listening to John Ward on the radio announcing King's first game with the Vols. After a spectacular play by King, Ward simply said, "Ladies and gentlemen, get your tickets."

FWBVol writes:

King is probably the greatest all-around player in the history of the SEC. There have been a few better scorers and a few better rebounders, but no player could score and rebound like King.

The story is inaccurate in one way. King was the second leading scorer in school history at the end of his three years, but he is now seventh on the list behind Allan Houston, Ernie G., Tony White, Chris Lofton, Reggie Johnson and Dale Ellis.

wigmeister writes:

It is about time he was selected. No one more deserving.

johnlg00 writes:

It's funny, but I saw the title of this article once on the GVX home page but didn't click on it right then. After looking at some other articles, I tried to find it again and couldn't. I only ran into it now because it was listed in the middle of the page containing the article about the former Vol runner who died while serving as a Michigan State Trooper. It wasn't listed under any of the headings where one might have expected it to find it. Glad I finally found it. No question BK was one of the greatest ever to wear the Orange in any sport. We can only pray that we see his like in a Vol uniform again.

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