Warriors.com (DotCom): What was your first reaction of joining the Warriors in 1980?
Bernard King (BK): It was a great time. I came in as a new face and World B. Free as well, and you had Joe Barry Carroll and Ricky Brown come over after the trade of Robert Parish to the Boston Celtics, so we were certainly a team in transition … We were really excited about the prospects of the season in 1980-81, and Al Attles is certainly a legendary coach. He was a great coach to play for – he was one of my all-time favorites.
DotCom: What was it like playing with World B. Free?
BK: It was an honor for me to play with World. The two of us are from Brooklyn, New York and it’s always special to play with a guy from your hometown. When he arrived in Golden State, he assumed the role of being a scorer, but more importantly he just wanted to be one of the guys on the team and that was my personality as well. He was well-suited to play for Al Attles and all of the guys respected him and enjoyed him as a teammate.
DotCom: You seemed to really excel on the left side of the floor. Why was that?
Bernard King (BK): That was a key part of my game. I used to love to run the floor and I was one of the quickest small forwards in the league. I’m a right-handed player, but I’m left-hand dominant when it comes to the basketball. A great deal of my moves were predicated to the left side of the floor because that’s where my strengths were.
DotCom: What’s keeping you busy right now?
Bernard King (BK): I’m in business for myself and I have been for the last number of years with a business partner. I’m in the energy business. What we specialize in is helping clients save money on their electrical utility costs and we do that in a number of ways. It’s challenging and very enjoyable.
DotCom: What comes to mind when you think about the 1981-82 season?
Bernard King (BK): We missed the playoffs by one game. It came down to the last game of the season and I think we were up by 18 or 20 points and somehow we blew the lead and lost the game and missed out on the playoffs. We wound up with a record of 45-37 and that’s typically good enough to get into the playoffs but we were in such a powerful conference. In spite of that record, we missed out and I became a free agent … I had honestly thought that I would end my career in Golden State. I wanted to remain there. I loved the community, I loved playing for Al Attles and all of my teammates were great guys to play with. I thought our future was bright and that we could do some really dominant things in the league, but as a free agent I changed uniforms and I went on to New York.
DotCom: Was it pretty tough missing the playoffs by one game in back-to-back seasons?
Bernard King (BK): I had a very lengthy career, however there are certain games and certain years that will always remain with you. Those two years with the Warriors and missing the playoffs by one game is something that I will not forget for the rest of my life. But I think the fans of the Bay Area really enjoyed those two years in terms of those two teams. I thought we had a connection with the fan base there, and I know that I did by being out in the community. That was a very special time, but I know it was disheartening for everyone involved.
DotCom: Do you think your mental toughness gave you a distinct advantage over other NBA players in your era?
Bernard King (BK): There’s no question about it that I felt that was my separation point. My preparation for the game and the way I approached the game … Every night you saw me, you may have saw my gameface on tape. It’s interesting the effect that had on some people because I’m just a nice, down-to-earth guy. I never tried to intimidate anyone on the court when I was playing, but the gameface did.
DotCom: In 2006, TNT had a list of nominees for the next 10 to honor the 60th anniversary of the league after the NBA had named their 50 Greatest Players earlier. How did it feel to be on that list?
Bernard King (BK): It’s an honor to be on any list that recognizes the history of the game and recognizes the contributions that you may have made to the game. It’s always a tremendous honor, but I think back to what Magic Johnson said and he thought that I should have been top 50, so I’ll leave it at that.