If Pat Riley would have played Rolando Blackman in games 6 & 7 in the NBA finals against Houston in 1994 instead of the obvious slumbing John Starks, the Knicks would have won the NBA title that season.
Rolando Blackman was drafted by the Mavericks in the first round (9th overall) of the 1981 NBA Draft. He became the first Panamanian-born to play in the NBA. In eleven seasons with the Mavericks, Blackman was named to the NBA All-Star Team four times and played on six Maverick playoff teams. Blackman made 6,487 field goals with the Mavericks and scored 16,643 points, which was a franchise record for 18 years – until broken by Dirk Nowitzki on March 8, 2008. In his 865 games with the Mavericks, Blackman never fouled out of a game.
Blackman spent his final two seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks, reuniting with former Dallas teammate Derek Harper, and the team made the Finals in his final year, losing to the Houston Rockets. When he retired from the league following the 1993–94 NBA season, he had career totals of 17,623 points, 3,278 rebounds and 2,981 assists. Upon retirement, Blackman’s points total ranked in the top 50 in NBA history. (He is currently directly behind Magic Johnson on the list of all-time NBA points.) Blackman’s number 22 jersey was retired by the Mavericks on March 11, 2000.
During the 2006 NBA Finals, Blackman’s former coach with the New York Knicks, Pat Riley, admitted, publicly for the first time, that sitting Rolando Blackman in favor of John Starks during Games 6 and 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals was the biggest coaching mistake in his career and that he has never forgiven himself for it.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes Rolando Blackman.
|1992–1994||New York Knicks|
|1994–1995||AEK Athens (Greece)|
|1995–1996||Olimpia Milano (Italy)|
|1996–1997||CSP Limoges (France)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||17,623 (18.0 ppg)|
|Rebounds||3,278 (3.3 rpg)|
|Assists||2,981 (3.0 apg)|