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EXCERPT | Dec. 18, 1972
Rough treatment didn't slow the NBA's lightest player
Kings guard Nate Archibald was 24 and on his way to leading the league in points and assists when Peter Carry reported from Kansas City.
He is called Tiny, or sometimes Little Tiny, a double diminutive that aptly describes him. Not only is Tiny far smaller than his peers, at 24 he looks far younger, say about 12. Ribs, not muscles, ripple his skimpy chest, and his hips are as narrow—and powerful—as a greyhound's. Tiny's tininess should have led him into sedate pursuits. As it turned out, he plays a little basketball.
To his bank, the IRS and most basketball fans he is known as Nate Archibald; to his teammates on the Kansas City--Omaha Kings as Tiny; and to his family back in the Bronx as Little Tiny. (The nickname is a hand-me-down from his father, Big Tiny.) During the first two months of the season Archibald has also become recognized by some other folks in the NBA, notably opponents and statisticians, as perhaps the most productive offensive player of any size of any time.
At 6'1", 160 pounds Tiny is the lightest and fourth-shortest player in the NBA. He usually dribbles past opposing backcourt men and heads for the area under the basket where men a hundredweight heavier and a foot taller wait to hack him, stuff him, crack him and otherwise make his wife and children wonder how far their standard of living will drop when they start making do on workmen's compensation. Archibald is smacked to the floor so often that he's developed a relaxed landing technique that allows him to fall with the impact of a sackful of creamed spinach. The rest of the time he leaves the big men waving wildly at the spot, usually in midair, that he has just vacated.
Archibald, a six-time All-Star, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.
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