Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 7 Rick Barry
Hall of Famer led Nets to first ABA finals appearance and holds franchise scoring record
The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.
Rick Barry played just two seasons for the Nets, but the Hall of Famer brought the franchise its first taste of legitimacy and success.
The 6-foot-7 forward had led the NBA in scoring with 35.6 points per game in 1966-67, his second pro season. But when he attempted to jump to the ABA, he launched a twisting five-year chapter to a storied career.
First, Barry had to sit out a season when his ABA contract was challenged in court by the Warriors. After his first season with the ABA’s Oakland Oaks, the franchise moved east and played as the Washington Capitals in 1969-70. Before the 1970-71 season, he was traded to the Nets and averaged 29.4 points in 59 games.
In 1971-72, Barry averaged 31.5 points per game while essentially never coming out of the game. He averaged 45.2 minutes per game for the season. That was the same year the Nets debuted their iconic stars & stripes uniforms and moved into Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in mid-season, opening the new arena with a Feb. 11, 1972 win over the Pittsburgh Condors. Barry went for 45 that night.
Despite finishing 24 games behind the division winning Kentucky Colonels, the 44-40 Nets knocked off the favorites in the first round of the playoffs. Barry scored 50 in the playoff opener and averaged 30.7 in 18 playoff games as the Nets advanced to the ABA championship series for the first time before losing to the Indiana Pacers in six games.
After the season, Barry returned to the Warriors and the NBA. He led Golden State to the 1975 NBA championship, averaging 30.6 points for the season. He played through the end of the 1979-80 season – the final two years in Houston – before retiring.
Barry was named to the All-ABA First Team in all four seasons he played in the league and five times in the NBA, in addition to one Second Team selection. He played in the NBA or ABA All-Star Game in each of his first 12 pro seasons and holds the ABA all-time record in averaging 30.5 points per game.
For the Nets, Barry averaged a franchise career record 30.6 points per game as well as 7.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his two seasons.