Top 25 Favorite Knicks of the Modern Era: #18-17
We continue our look at who you voted for as your top 25 favorite Knicks of the Modern Era (1979-present, also known as the “Three-Point Era,” as that is when the three-pointer was adopted by the NBA)! Every weekday we will reveal two more Knicks until we reach #1! Click here for a master list of all Knicks revealed so far!
18. Charlie Ward
Despite winning the Heisman Trophy as he led the Florida State Seminoles to their first National Championship in 1993 as the quarterback, Charlie Ward was not drafted in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He was drafted in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft, though (by the Knicks), so Ward decided to play professional basketball, choosing to be a floor general rather than a gridiron general. In Ward’s first season in the NBA, he did not see a lot of action, but after Greg Anthony was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the Expansion Draft, Ward was Derek Harper’s full-time back-up at the point in 1995-96. For the 1996-97 season, Chris Childs was signed by the Knicks to replace Harper as the starter at the point, but by the end of the season, Ward had taken over the starting gig and was the full-time starter for the next three seasons, including his finest season in 1997-98.
Ward was a strong defensive point guard, but he could hit the open shot as well, and he was a good passer. Ward is perhaps best known in Knick history for undercutting Miami Heat forward PJ Brown after a free throw attempt at the end of Game 5 of the Knick/Heat 1997 Playoff Series. Brown took umbrage to Ward and picked him up and body slammed him, leading to a brawl that saw a large chunk of the Knicks (including Ward) miss Games 6 and 7 in a series the Knicks would ultimately lose. It is shame that Patrick Ewing missed his shot at the end of Game 2 of the Knicks’ 1999 Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers, because Ward threw him an astonishing pass (using all of his quarterback passing skill) from behind the Pacer basket all the way to the Knicks’ free throw line with seconds remaining in the game. Ewing got the shot off in time but it missed. The pass was so amazing that the TV cameras did not even catch it! But because Ewing missed it, Ward’s amazing pass is mostly forgotten now (as opposed to Grant Hill’s pass to Christian Laettner).
During his tenth seasons with the Knicks, Ward (by then mostly backing up Howard Eisley) was traded (along with Eisley) in January of 2004 in an expansive package for Stephon Marbury. Ward was actually playing pretty well at the time. After Phoenix cut him (they only acquired him to make the salaries work), he signed on with San Antonio for the rest of the season. After a short stint with Houston in the 2004-05 season, Ward retired.
In his ten seasons with the Knicks, Charlie Ward produced 29.7 win shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!
17. Nate Robinson
Nate Robinson is one of the shortest players in the NBA, standing 5 feet, 9 inches tall. However, he has one of the highest vertical leaps in the NBA, so he is definitely an interesting player to watch. Short enough that he looks like a little kid next to NBA centers, but able to make himself tall enough that he famously blocked 7 foot 6 inch Yao Ming in a game two years ago.
Acquired by the Knicks during the 2005 NBA Draft in the deal that sent Kurt Thomas to the Phoenix Suns for Quentin Richardson, Nate Robinson was one of the most popular Knicks on the team during his four and a half years in New York, and he was one of their most prolific scorers, too, finishing second on the team in point per game in the 2008-09 season with over 17 points a game.
Robinson is probably best remembered, though, for becoming the first ever three-time winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, famously defeating Dwight “Superman” Howard by dunking over him dressed in green as “KryptoNate.”
Currently, he is the back-up point guard for the Boston Celtics (well, right this second he’s actually the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics).
In his nearly five seasons with the Knicks, Nate Robinson produced 13.8 Win Shares. For more of his stats, check out his profile at Basketball Reference!