Time marches on, of course, no matter what we think, and it’s particularly true for sports. New guys come along all the time and help us to forget about old stars. Guys like Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson were epic talents, but then you see Magic and Bird and Jordan. Then LeBron comes along and gets people thinking that he’s the best (he’s legitimately great, but he’s not the best).
But while the arguments over the very best rages on, what about the merely really, really good? Dirk Nowitzki is almost never talked about now. Moses Malone has faded. And then there's Nate Archibald.
The man known as Tiny came out of New York and played for Don Haskins at UTEP.
Arriving the year after UTEP stunned the basketball world by beating Rupp’s Runts of Kentucky for the 1966 title, Archibald had a quiet career. This was partly due to UTEP being remote in that day and partly due to Haskins, who had a somewhat boring approach, at least from a fan’s point of view.
The Cincinnati Royals were looking for a point guard and Archibald lasted until the second pick of the second round. Taken one pick ahead of him: 5-9 Calvin Murphy, another sensational little man who would make the Hall of Fame.
In the league, Archibald proved to be a tremendous scorer and passer, leading the NBA in both in 1972-73.
He was in many ways the template for Isaiah Thomas, Alan Iverson and later, Kyrie Irving.