There have been very few NBA players with the skill and playmaking ability of Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald. The 6-foot-1, guard from the streets of New York City was an electrifying players during his 14-year career.
“They called him Tiny, but what’s Tiny about a guy with that kind of heart, and that kind of ability?,” asked the late Red Aueribach, the patriarch of the Celtics franchise, at Archibald’s induction into the Hall of Fame in 1991. “He epitomize the point guard position.”
Archibald’s trek to the Hall of Fame started humbly. He was cut from his high school basketball team (Bronx, N.Y.) as a sophomore. But he didn’t give up, and returned his junior year to not only make the team, but become a starter. Archibald was not heavily recruited out of high school. He spent a year at Arizona Western Community College, before moving on to the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP).
It was there that his game began to blossom. Archibald averaged 20 points per game throughout his career at UTEP, and began to get the attention of NBA scouts, who saw potential in his lighting quickness, and play-making abilities.
He was selected in the second round of the 1970 NBA draft by the Cincinnati Royals. He started as a rookie, and averaged 16 points per game. However, Archibald was prone to turnovers, and there were doubts if his style of play would fit the NBA game, which at that time was powered by big men.
But in truth, Archibald was just settling into the pro game.
He averaged 28 points a game in his second season, and then put together a remarkable season in the 1972-72 season, after the Royals left Cincinnati to become the Kansas City Kings ( now the Sacramento Kings). Archibald averaged 34 points per game, and 11 assists. He is the only player to ever lead the league in scoring and assists.
After a stop in New Jersey, Archibald joined the Boston Celtics in 1978. He would be a part of the resurgence of the Celtics that culminated in 1980-81, with an NBA championship. Archibald orchestrated the Celtics’ attack that featured future Hall of Famers Robert Parrish and Larry Bird.
Archibald, 68, was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, and he is a member of the NBA’s ’50 Greatest Players’ team. He is still active working with young basketball players in his home of New York City. Linked below are highlights of Tiny in action.