William R. Knight (born June 9, 1952) is an American former professional basketball player and executive. Playing with the Indiana Pacers in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and later the National Basketball Association (NBA), he was both an ABA and NBA All-Star. He played college basketball with the Pittsburgh Panthers, who retired his No. 34.
|Born||June 9, 1952|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|NBA draft||1974 / Round: 2 / Pick: 21st overall|
|Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|1983–1984||Kansas City Kings|
|1984–1985||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career ABA and NBA statistics|
|Points||13,901 (16.9 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,377 (5.3 rpg)|
|Assists||1,862 (2.3 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
In college, Knight was a consensus second-team All-American in 1974. He began his pro career with Indiana, earning ABA All-Rookie First Team honors in 1975. He continued with the Pacers in the NBA, and he also played in the league for the Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics, Kansas City Kings and San Antonio Spurs. Knight finished his playing career with a season in France. He became an executive with the Pacers and the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies. He last served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Atlanta Hawks from 2003 to 2008.
Knight was born and raised in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, where he attended General Braddock High School- He was a member of the 1970 Section High School Basketball Champions on the General Braddock Falcons.
University of PittsburghEdit
A 6'6" guard/forward, he then attended the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), where he starred, and along with Mickey Martin and Kirk Bruce, Knight led the Panthers to the East Regional Finals in the 1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, where they lost to eventual NCAA Champion |North Carolina State], in a matchup between Knight and NCSU's David Thompson (basketball) . The game was played in Raleigh, North Carolina. NCSU went on to defeat UCLA & Marquette for the National title in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Knight's performance during the 1973–1974 season, in which Pitt went 25-4 and won a school record, 22 games in a row, earned him 2nd team All-American team status. He is considered one of Pitt's best players ever and was voted to Pitt's all-time starting five.
Knight had his number 34 jersey retired by the University of Pittsburgh on February 20, 1989.
Knight spent eleven seasons, from 1974–85, in the ABA and NBA as a member of the Indiana Pacers, Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics, Kansas City Kings, and San Antonio Spurs. He scored 13,901 points in his ABA/NBA career and appeared in two All-Star games.
Knight's best years were with the Indiana Pacers, after being selected by both the Pacers and the LA Lakers in the player draft. Knight was voted 1st team ABA All-Star for the 1975–1976 season, his second year in the league after averaging 28.1 ppg. This was the last year of the ABA before the Indiana Pacers merged into the NBA. The following year Knight maintained All-Star status, this time in the NBA after averaging 26.6 ppg — second best in the league that season. After a brief stint with the Buffalo Braves & Boston Celtics, Knight returned to the Pacers in 1978, where he continued his career with them until 1983.
Knight is the Indiana Pacers 3rd all-time leading scorer and is in several other Top 5 all-time categories for the Pacers.
Prior to joining the Hawks organization in 2002, Knight worked as a front office executive with the Pacers and the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.
Knight's reign as GM of the Atlanta Hawks was marred by poor drafts . In 2004, he drafted Josh Childress over future All-Stars Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala. Childress wound up leaving the Atlanta Hawks to join a Greek franchise . In 2005, Billy Knight drafted UNC freshman phenom Marvin Williams over consensus top point guard and future 9-time All Star and 7-time All-NBA team point guard Chris Paul despite the roster's need for a point guard and glut of young players at the swing position between Josh Childress and Josh Smith. 2006 led to the selection of Sheldon Williams, an undersized power forward, despite glaring needs at guard and future all-star Brandon Roy available.
On May 7, 2008, Knight stepped down as Hawks GM. When announcing his resignation from the team he stated that he had left the Hawks "in much better shape than it was in when I took over."
Knight currently lives in Atlanta, and continues to play tennis, a game he enjoys and began playing around the age of 30.
ABA/NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
- "Panther Pride: University of Pittsburgh Men's Basketball". August 22, 2002. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- "Knight to step down after leading Hawks out of playoff drought". ESPN.com. May 7, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
- Meyer, Craig (July 23, 2018), "Former Braddock and Pitt great Billy Knight reconnects with his roots", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette