Nate “Tiny” Archibald (308667)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

It was billed as a street renaming ceremony, celebrating Bronx native and NBA legend Nate “Tiny” Archibald. But the event at the Patterson Houses this past weekend in the South Bronx, located at 143rd Street west of Third Avenue, was in fact a gathering at the South court of many of Archibald’s longtime friends, including esteemed members of the New York City basketball community, as well as local elected officials and community residents, honoring his immense achievements. As part of the affair, a proclamation from New York State Assemblywoman Chantel Jackson was also bestowed.

“I’m not even from this side,” Archibald joked, referring to growing up on the other side of the complex. His theme of positivity and serving others epitomized the 1991 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee’s humility.

“I don’t even know why they’re doing this for me,” Archibald quipped, thanking everyone for the love that was being shown to him while touting the Bronx and the prominence of the borough.

The event was organized by Mike Bright and Mike Lawrence, men who Archibald mentored during their teen years into adulthood, that paid it forward by helping to shape the lives of countless youth. Archibald, who turned 73 earlier this month, is widely considered as one of the greatest players of all-time. In 1973 he became the first and only player to lead the NBA in points and assists in the same season, a mark that still stands.

“He was a great basketball player, but he is a greater humanitarian,” said Lawrence, addressing the crowd and highlighting Archibald’s many contributions. “He’s been a champion for young people across the globe.”

The 6-1 point guard, affectionately known as Tiny, was a high school star at DeWitt Clinton before going on to Arizona Western College and the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP). In 1970 he was a second-round pick (19th overall) of the Cincinnati Royals. Archibald became a five-time All-NBA selection, six-time All-Star, winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1981, and in the same year was a key member of the Boston Celtics championship team.

“He was a great competitor, someone who I really enjoyed playing against,” said Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, another all-time great and Hall of Famer whose number 15 is retired by the New York Knicks. Monroe was among the dozens who came to Patterson for the commemoration.

In 1996, Archibald was recognized as one of the league’s 50 greatest players of all-time on the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Archibald’s numbers 14 and 1 are retired by UTEP and the Sacramento Kings respectively.