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Tiny Archibald Rumors

Archibald’s storied basketball career started in New York City on the city’s famous playgrounds. Coming out of the Bronx in the 1960s, Archibald displayed skills molded by taking on other streetballers in many of New York’s famous parks, including Rucker Park, where he developed a knack to score and facilitate. “What I remember him always talking about was the New York playground legends,” said Cedric Maxwell, Archibald’s teammate with the Boston Celtics from 1978 to ’83. “Guys that he played with and he always talked about — Joe Hammond ‘The Destroyer’, Pee Wee Kirkland — all those guys out of the city that played down in the Rucker. I kind of lived vicariously through him when it came to New York, because he’d always tell me stories about different places that he’d go to in the summer. In my mind, he took me down 42nd Street so many times, and I had never really been there.”
While Archibald physical gifts weren’t what they used to be from the injuries, he was still capable of getting to the basket despite the shots he’d take when the game was more physical. As other point guards have gone on to do more with less in terms of size, Maxwell said Archibald’s ability to relentlessly get to the basket can still be seen today among the game’s small guards, from Irving to Ja Morant. “Always attacking the rim, getting back up,” Maxwell recalled. “Mind you that was a more physical time when Nate played. Guys would intentionally take you out in the air and tell you not to come back. But he continued to do that, and I think if you look at the Iversons now, the Kyrie Irvings of the world now, guys get toward the hole and get into contact going down.
Erving says the park was where a lot of the style of today’s NBA was born. “I don’t remember whether we won most of our games or not, but it suddenly became as much about putting on a show as it was winning the game,” Erving recalled. “I think it’s a great tribute to the people who come to support the game of basketball,” fellow Hall-of-Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald said. “You talk about the legends, past and also present, to come here. This is probably the most historical park in the world.”

Today, the 72-year-old Archibald is healthy and grateful to the NBPA for what it’s doing for retired players. “Chris Paul, LeBron [James], KD [Kevin Durant], those guys who were on the [NBPA] board that made the decision,” Archibald said. “They saw [retired] guys limping with canes, wheelchairs. Not normal for them because they’re active and we weren’t. Seeing guys in that type of shape, they felt that this needed to be done. Then the NBA came on board to kind of finalize this whole thing. But I’m grateful that it happened because some of us wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here talking to you today.”