Name the Heisman Trophy winner who was not selected in the NFL draft but had a career in the NBA? Answer: 1993 Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward. Ward although didn’t play Baseball in college he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1993. Ward was chosen in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, he began his career in the NBA as a point guard. An inquiry was made during Ward’s rookie year with the Knicks for him to become the backup quarterback for Joe Montana of the Kansas City Chiefs, but Ward declined. To this day, Ward is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in the NBA.
Ward played sparingly in his rookie year under head coach Pat Riley, but the Knicks organization referred to him as “the point guard of the future.” When assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy took over the head coaching position, Ward’s time on the floor began to increase, becoming the primary backup for point guard Derek Harper. He became a fan favorite in New York for his hard work ethic and unselfish play. During his NBA career, Ward established himself as a good three-point shooter, a reliable ball distributor, and a respected floor leader.
Ward is best known by Knick and Heat fans as one of two players who touched off a wild brawl between the two teams during Game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals with the Knicks holding a 3–1 series lead, Ward tried to box out P. J. Brown. When he tried to get inside after the free throw shot, Brown got frustrated, then retaliated by lifting Ward up and body-slamming him. This caused a bench-clearing brawl to ensue.
Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, and Ward himself, were suspended by the NBA. Ewing, Houston, Johnson, and Starks left the bench during the brawl, which was why they got suspended. Brown was suspended for the rest of the series; Ewing, Ward and Houston were suspended for Game 6, and Johnson and Starks were suspended for Game 7. Due to the suspensions, the Knicks were shorthanded and lost Games 6 and 7 to Miami 95–90 and 101–90, respectively, failing to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
As far knick fans are concerned …Ward earned his place as a crowd favorite and was the last rel point guard the Knicks drafted and developed. Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Charlie Ward.