Thursday , Feb , 17 , 2011 Daniel Henriquez

Pro Legends of Streetball: Nate “Tiny” Archibald

Feel free to call him “Tiny”, just don’t belittle his accomplishments on the basketball court.  Nate Archibald came from one of the toughest housing projects in New York and went on to lead the Boston Celtics to the 1981 NBA Championship.  Along the way, the man known as “Tiny” ratcheted up a number of personal accolades including becoming a 6-time NBA All-Star, a 3-time NBA First Team selection, and the only player in NBA history to lead the league in both scoring and assists in the same season.

Before the NBA career, the Patterson Housing Projects native made a name for himself on the basketball courts of the Bronx and Harlem.  Known as “The Skate” back then (a nod to his lighting fast speed), Nate became the stuff of schoolyard legends while honing his skills at Rucker Park.  Fittingly enough, Archibald’s biggest rival during his streetball days was fellow NYC prodigy Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland.  Whether Kirkland actually got the best of Tiny (a claim that Pee Wee himself makes) remains up for debate, but the battles fought between the two men back in 1970 and 1971 stand as unquestioned landmarks in the history of streetball.  Not being satisfied with one arch-nemesis (and being the guy every guy wanted to “take down”), Tiny also developed a heated rivalry with NYC native and Puerto Rican b-ball legend Angel “Monchito” Cruz.  Despite all the “enemies,” Archibald still continued to come back to Rucker Park after becoming a legitimate NBA star, using the court as a place to stay fresh during the offseason.  In his post-playing days, Nate paid his respects to his streetball roots by volunteering in a number of basketball programs for New York’s underprivileged youth, including the “Each One Teach One” clinics at Rucker Park.