Billy King Rumors
Former general manager Billy King joined The Audacy NBA Show with Ryan McDonough and he explained what the Sixers would have to do to try and protect Iverson: When he was injured and we knew he couldn’t play we used to hide his jersey. Because he would come to the locker room looking for his jersey, we’d lock it somewhere so he couldn’t get it…. One time, in New York, he found his jersey but didn’t have any shoes. He was trying to send the ball boy to the Foot Locker around the corner. He said ‘just give me a pair of their Reeboks. I can play in those.’ Then he pointed to an attendant, ‘what size are you, just give me those shoes,’ because he wanted to play so bad.
Mr. Smallwood grew up in Odenton, where he played high school soccer and baseball, and he was a 1987 graduate of the University of Maryland. He came to the Daily News in 1994 from the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, after having also worked at the Roanoke (Va.) Times. At the Daily News and then at the Inquirer after the staffs merged, he often wrote about college and NBA basketball, particularly during the Sixers’ Allen Iverson era. “Anytime he was interviewing you and asking questions, it was like a friend asking you,” former Sixers general manager Billy King said. “If you tried to B.S. him, he would give you that ‘Oh, come on, Billy, you know that’s not true.’ You couldn’t lie to him, because he had that look. He critiqued you with compassion.”
Billy King: I first met B.J. Johnson in 1982 at UVA with Ralph Sampson. He remained a friend since that day. His basketball knowledge and love for the game was unmatched. Hard to believe he is gone. He will be missed. RIP B.J.
You’re one of the judges with Wes Wilcox, who will go to Sacramento as an assistant GM. Did working with the contestants make you want to work in a front office again, and were you close at any point to returning to the league? Billy King: I’d love to get back in. It’s something that when you’re away from it, you have a chance to reflect on your mistakes, and so you say if I get back in, whether it’s as an assistant GM or as a GM, I would do things a little differently. I’m anxious to get back in. I told the contestants, if I get a job tomorrow, I’d call one or two of you right away because I’d want you on my staff just because I thought their energy level, knowledge, and composure was so impressive.
After the show’s finale, what’s next for you? Are you consulting with any teams? Billy King: I’ve talked to a few teams, and I’m going to continue to talk to them. I’ve talked to the league with Adam Silver about some ideas I have in how I can assist them. I co-host a radio show here in Philadelphia once a week. My goal is to try to get back in the league and help. I feel that I’ve been blessed to be around Donnie Walsh, Larry Brown, Rod Thorn, and different guys in the league. I’d like to continue to give what I’ve learned from different people to help. I know I can help a team. That’s my goal to get back in some capacity.
Zanin has been a scout with the Thunder for the past four years. Like Utah, the Thunder are respected throughout the league for their scouting on the college and pro level under Sam Presti. “If Presti hires you, it says something (about your ability),” one opposing scout said when asked about Zanin. Prior to his stint with Oklahoma City, Zanin worked closely with Billy King in Brooklyn. Zanin was an assistant GM with the Nets and elevated to acting GM after King’s dismissal. He stepped down after the Nets hired Sean Marks as general manager. Zanin, who began his career with King in Philadelphia, was described by one opposing scout as a hard worker who doesn’t seek the spotlight. During his tenure as acting GM, Zanin was in the spotlight for a brief time — but not from his own actions.
In an appearance on WIP sports radio in Philadelphia, Krzyzewski talked about his chances to coach in the pros and why he stayed with the Blue Devils. He also revealed that former player Billy King reached out to him in 2003, when King was G.M. of the 76ers and coach Larry Brown resigned. “I’ve been fortunate,” he said. “If you’re a successful coach or businessperson, you’re going to have opportunities. When professional opportunities occurred … I love Duke, in addition to college basketball. I love working at a university environment. You’re surrounded by great people, not just in sports. It has been proven to be pretty pure. It’s getting crazy now, but that was kind of (King) to even ask.”