This excerpt was taken from an article written in 1987 by Bruce Newman from Sports Illustrated. The whole article can be found here.
After undergoing knee surgery on April 1, 1985, Bernard King found his sleep frequently bothered by dreams that came upon him like a fever. “Often I would wake up in the middle of the night sweating so badly I had to change into a clean pair of shorts and T-shirt,” King says.
Awakening from one of these troubling dreams 23 months ago, King realized he could not get back to sleep without a drink of water. He was sleeping on a hospital bed in the basement of his New Jersey home following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
You see, we hear about torn ACL’s all the time in sports. In today’s game it usually sidelines a player for about a year. But back in the 80s this wasn’t so simple. Back in the 80s for a basketball player like Bernard King, this was the kind of injury that could put an entire career in jeopardy. Which is why I was so impressed by his comeback. Think about guys like Greg Oden. That’s kind of like where Bernard King was back in the 80s. Rehab wasn’t nearly as successful back then and the technology certainly didn’t match up to today’s.
King went on to average 22.7 pts in 6 games after the comeback upon which the Knicks released him because of Patrick Ewing’s arrival. He then went on to play for the Washington Bullets raising his averages for three straight years until 1990-91 where he averaged over 28 pts a game and became one of the oldest All-Stars in history.
So not only did he come back from a torn ACL but his scoring got better as he was getting older and older. Pretty awesome if you ask me. That’s why I’ll always consider King’s comeback to be one of the best in sports history. It was he and he alone that pulled it off.
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