Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #16 Stacey King

Stacey King
Stacey King is currently the beloved (by some) play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bulls. But when he first started his career with the Bulls, he was far from beloved, and it is fascinating to see how the public perception of him has changed over the years.

King came in as the sixth pick in the 1989 NBA Draft, passing on the likes of Shawn Kemp and Vlade Divac, although missing out on the latter helped fuel their decision to draft Toni Kukoc the following year. But it made sense as he put up over 26 points and 10 rebounds in his senior year at Oklahoma. He was a total stud coming out of college.

Unfortunately, that never quite translated to the professional game. He put up a respectable 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in a bench role his rookie season, but sadly, that was probably his best year as a professional. The guy had tons of talent, which is why the Bulls held onto him for so long, but his work ethic was often questioned during his NBA career.

And that potential was enough for him to hang around for three NBA Championship runs as a backup big man. The Bulls really did not want to have to rely on Will Perdue being their only backup big man, so they kept King around as even if he did lack a great work ethic, he would still show flashes of his full potential.

During the Bulls first championship run, the Bulls had become disenchanted with him, and although he got playing time in the first two rounds, he only saw the court three times during the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals that year.

In 1991-92, it actually seemed like it was all coming together for King. He had a 17 game stretch early in the season where he had double-digit points in all but two games. He was a scoring machine as he averaged over 50% from the field in all but two of those games as well. But even in this stretch, he still was unable to record a single double-double, something that he was able to average in his last year college. His numbers dropped off shortly after that, and his final season numbers, although better, did not show significant improvement. He played in nearly every playoff game in 1992, although the only games that he scored double-digit points were decided by 30 (win) and 26 (loss).

Although 1992-93 didn't bring the hot streak that happened the previous season, King did put up his first double-double since his rookie season, with 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks. And again, in the playoffs, he filled his role of big man off the bench, playing in every game but unable to make a memorable difference.

Stacey King helped the Bulls to three NBA Championships, but as the sixth overall pick in the draft, it's tough to not consider his career a disappointment. He stuck around halfway through the 1993-94 season before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Luc Longley. Considering that Longley would go on to start at center for three more Bulls Championships, it may be considered King's most valuable contribution. If you really need to see a highlight video, here's one from a random game against the Nets.

I LOVE that even in this highlight video, they show a missed free throw by King just so they can show Bo Jackson in the crowd.

These days, King is known more as the color commentator during Chicago Bulls broadcasts. He has been doing the job for over a decade, and over that time, he has accumulated too many catchphrases and nicknames to list here, although his Wikipedia page has a pretty extensive guide. I think it is best if I just leave you with this.

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