Nate Archibald

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Nate Archibald
Archibald with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1974
Personal information
Born (1948-09-02) September 2, 1948 (age 75)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight150 lb (68 kg)
Career information
High schoolDeWitt Clinton (New York City, New York)
NBA draft1970: 2nd round, 19th overall pick
Selected by the Cincinnati Royals
Playing career1970–1984
PositionPoint guard
Number10, 1, 7
Career history
19701976Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City-Omaha / Kansas City Kings
1976–1977New York Nets
19781983Boston Celtics
1983–1984Milwaukee Bucks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points16,481 (18.8 ppg)
Assists6,476 (7.4 apg)
Rebounds2,046 (2.3 rpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Nathaniel "Tiny" Archibald (born September 2, 1948) is an American retired professional basketball player. He spent 14 years playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), most notably with the Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City–Omaha Kings and Boston Celtics. In 1991, he was enshrined into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

Archibald was a willing passer and an adequate shooter from midrange. However, it was his quickness, speed and shiftiness that made him difficult to guard in the open court, as he would regularly drive past defenders on his way to the basket. This versatility helped Archibald lead the NBA in scoring and assists in the same season (1972-73), making him the first of only two players in league history to achieve such a feat.

Early life[edit]

Archibald scoring for the UTEP in 1968

Archibald, a playground legend while growing up in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood in the South Bronx borough of New York City, played high school basketball for only one-and-a-half seasons, and was cut from the varsity squad at DeWitt Clinton High School as a sophomore.[1] He returned to the team as a junior. During his time without basketball, Archibald briefly flirted with dropping out of school after having been largely truant in past years. But with the help of two mentors, Floyd Layne and Pablo Robertson, Archibald turned it around. Robertson, a former standout at Loyola of Chicago and a Harlem, New York playground impresario, had seen the gifted, mercurial Archibald in action on the playgrounds and convinced the young man's high school coach to re-instate him on the squad.

Despite playing in just blowouts as a junior, the shy, quiet teen managed to blossom into a high-school star, being named team captain and an All-City selection in 1966. Off the court, Archibald began to attend school regularly and worked to improve his poor academic standing, which deterred most colleges from offering him a scholarship.

College career[edit]

To improve his chances of playing major college basketball, Archibald enrolled at Arizona Western College, transferring to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) the following year. He had three standout seasons at El Paso, from 1967 to 1970 under Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins.

Professional career[edit]

Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City-Omaha / Kansas City Kings (1970–1976)[edit]

Archibald was selected in the second round of the 1970 NBA draft (19th pick) by the Cincinnati Royals.[2] He was also drafted by the Texas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association.[3] In his NBA debut, Archibald recorded 17 points and seven assists in a 128–104 loss to the New York Knicks.[4] On March 13, 1971, Archibald set a then-career-high by scoring 47 points in a 136-127 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.[5]

On November 18, 1972, Archibald recorded 51 points and 14 assists in a 127–117 win over the Houston Rockets.[6]

In the 1972–73 season, Archibald led the NBA in scoring and assists (with 34 points and 11.4 assists, in 46 minutes a game, with all three averages being career-highs),[7] becoming the first player to win the titles in both categories in the same season (In the 1967–68 season, Oscar Robertson led the NBA in points and assists per game but did not win the titles because they were based on totals rather than averages at the time.).[2] Archibald's scoring average of 34.0 points per game broke the NBA record for a guard and, as of 2023, is still a record for point guards. His 910 assists that season (11.4 assists per game) were also an NBA record at the time, breaking Guy Rodgers' mark of 908. He was named the Sporting News NBA MVP that season.

During the 1975 NBA Playoffs, Archibald made the postseason for the first time in his career after the then-Kansas City Kings finished 44-38 in the regular season. Archibald went on to average 20.2 points and 5.3 assists in a six-game series loss in the first round to Bob Love and the Chicago Bulls.[8]

Archibald played for the Royals/Kings franchise from 1970 to 1976.

New York Nets (1976–1977)[edit]

Although Archibald was the Kings' most popular player, he was traded to the New York Nets for two first round draft picks (future all-star Otis Birdsong and rookie of the year Phil Ford), Jim Eakins and Brian Taylor in 1976.[2][9] Archibald would go on to average a comparatively low 20.5 points per game in his 34 games with the Nets.

Buffalo Braves (1977–1978)[edit]

Injured for much of the 1976–77 season, Archibald was traded by the Nets to the Buffalo Braves before the 1977–78 season, again for two first round draft picks (this time eventually becoming renowned defender Micheal Ray Richardson and prolific scorer Clifford Robinson), as well as George Johnson. Archibald tore his Achilles tendon and never played a regular-season game for the Braves.[9]

Boston Celtics (1978–1983)[edit]

Buffalo traded Archibald to the Boston Celtics as part of a seven-player deal before the start of the next season.[2][10] His career at the Celtics started poorly. He showed up 20 pounds overweight.[10] However, he adjusted and helped guide the Celtics to the best record in the NBA for three consecutive years (1979–1982).[2] Archibald won his first and only NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in the 1980–81 season alongside young NBA star Larry Bird. In Game 6 of the 1981 NBA Finals, Archibald recorded 13 points and 12 assists as the Celtics closed out the series against the Houston Rockets.[11]

On February 15, 1982, Archibald recorded a tenure-high 23 assists in a 145-144 win over the Denver Nuggets.[12]

Milwaukee Bucks (1983–1984)[edit]

After being waived by the Celtics, Archibald played the 1983–84 season with the Bucks; this was his final season. He started at point guard in all 46 games he played.[13]


Archibald was an All-NBA First Team selection three times (1973, 1975, 1976) and an All-NBA Second Team selection two times (1972, 1981). A seven-time NBA All-Star Game selection (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, and 1982),[14] he was named the 1981 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Archibald led the NBA in free throws made three times and free throw attempts twice. He competed in 876 professional games, scored 16,841 points (18.8 points per game), and dished out 6,476 assists. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. In 1991 Archibald was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, and into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in NYC. [15] In 2021, he was announced as part of the NBA's 75th anniversary team.[16] To commemorate the NBA's 75th Anniversary The Athletic ranked their top 75 players of all time, and named Archibald as the 67th greatest player in NBA history.[17] In 2023, Julius Erving listed Archibald on his personal list of the ten greatest basketball players of all time.[citation needed]

Informal nickname in Omaha, in addition to "Tiny": Nate "The Skate" Archibald, due to his ability to "skate" by his opponents.

Coaching career[edit]

Archibald was an assistant coach, spending one season in the University of Georgia and two with Texas-El Paso (where he worked with Tim Hardaway).[18] He has also coached the New Jersey Jammers of the USBL and in a Boston recreational league.[19] Archibald coached in the National Basketball Development League in 2001.[20] He resigned a year later to take a position with the NBA's community relations department.[21] Archibald was also named the head coach for the Long Beach Jam in 2004 in the revived ABA, but he would ultimately resign from his position on January 17, 2005, during their second and final season in the ABA.[22][23][24] The Long Beach Jam later moved to Bakersfield when they moved to the NBA Development League in 2006 and are now currently the Motor City Cruise for the NBA G League.

NBA career statistics[edit]

  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
 †  Won an NBA championship  *  Led the league

Regular season[edit]

1970–71 Cincinnati 82 35.0 .444 .757 3.0 5.5 16.0
1971–72 Cincinnati 76 43.1 .486 .822 2.9 9.2 28.2
1972–73 Kansas City–Omaha 80 46.0* .488 .847 2.8 11.4* 34.0*
1973–74 Kansas City–Omaha 35 36.3 .451 .820 2.4 7.6 1.6 0.2 17.6
1974–75 Kansas City–Omaha 82 39.6 .456 .872 2.7 6.8 1.5 0.1 26.5
1975–76 Kansas City 78 40.8 .453 .802 2.7 7.9 1.6 0.2 24.8
1976–77 New York 34 37.6 .446 .785 2.4 7.5 1.7 0.3 20.5
1978–79 Boston 69 24.1 .452 .788 1.5 4.7 0.8 0.1 11.0
1979–80 Boston 80 80 35.8 .482 .222 .830 2.5 8.4 1.3 0.1 14.1
1980–81 Boston 80 72 35.3 .499 .000 .816 2.2 7.7 0.9 0.2 13.8
1981–82 Boston 68 51 31.9 .472 .375 .747 1.7 8.0 0.8 0.0 12.6
1982–83 Boston 66 19 27.4 .425 .208 .743 1.4 6.2 0.6 0.1 10.5
1983–84 Milwaukee 46 46 22.6 .487 .222 .634 1.7 3.5 0.7 0.0 7.4
Career 876 268 35.6 .467 .224 .810 2.3 7.4 1.1 0.1 18.8
All-Star 6 4 27.0 .450 .833 3.0 6.7 1.8 0.2 12.3


1975 Kansas City–Omaha 6 40.3 .364 .814 1.8 5.3 0.7 0.0 20.2
1980 Boston 9 36.9 .506 .500 .881 1.2 7.9 1.1 0.0 14.2
1981 Boston 17 37.1 .450 .000 .809 1.6 6.3 0.8 0.0 15.6
1982 Boston 8 34.6 .429 .000 .893 2.1 6.5 0.6 0.3 10.6
1983 Boston 7 23.0 .324 .167 .759 1.4 6.3 0.3 0.0 9.6
Career 47 34.9 .423 .118 .826 1.6 6.5 0.7 0.0 14.2

Personal life[edit]

Archibald completed his bachelor's degree from University of Texas-El Paso by going back for three consecutive summers just prior to finishing his NBA career. He then taught in the New York City school system and attended night school at Fordham University. Archibald received a master's degree from Fordham University in 1990 and a professional diploma in supervision and administration in 1994. He began long-distance correspondence work toward a doctorate from California Coast University in 2000, but ceased his studies because of "his lack of funds and the motivation to complete a long-distance correspondence curriculum". Archibald has stated his hope to complete the degree in the future at Fordham.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Herzog, Bob; Barker, Barbara (October 30, 1996). "Ewing, Five Former Knicks Among NBA's 50 Greatest". Newsday. No. Sports. p. A75. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2009. Three former Nets, Julius Erving (Roosevelt High), Rick Barry (Roselle Park, N.J., High) and Nate Archibald (DeWitt Clinton), also were selected
  2. ^ a b c d e Porter p 15
  3. ^ "1970 ABA Draft". Basketball Reference. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013.
  4. ^ "New York Knicks at Cincinnati Royals Box Score, October 14, 1970". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Tiny Archibald Rookie Season High 47 Points"
  6. ^ "Houston Rockets at Kansas City-Omaha Kings Box Score, November 18, 1972". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "Tiny Archibald Stats"
  8. ^ "1974-75 Kansas City Kings Roster and Stats"
  9. ^ a b Tiny Archibald Transactions
  10. ^ a b "Nate Archibald". Archived from the original on April 13, 2003. Retrieved May 20, 2008.
  11. ^ "Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets Box Score, May 14, 1981". Basketball Reference. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Tiny Archibald Most Assists In A Game As A Celtic
  13. ^ 1983-84 Milwaukee Bucks Roster and Stats
  14. ^ Hubbard, Jan, ed. (October 17, 2000). The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). Doubleday. pp. 277–280.
  15. ^ "Hall of Famers". Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  16. ^ "NBA's 75 Anniversary |". Archived from the original on October 19, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  17. ^ "NBA 75: At No. 67, Nate 'Tiny' Archibald made history with his unselfishness and vision".
  18. ^ Paul, Alan (February 15, 2011). "Tiny Archibald". Big in China. Archived from the original (From the Archives) on January 11, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Povtak, Tim. "Knowledge Is Power For Tiny Archibald". AOL News. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  20. ^ "Tiny Archibald To Coach NBDL's Fayetteville Team". January 30, 2001. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011.
  21. ^ "Nate "Tiny" Archibald Joins the NBA's Community Relations Team". January 8, 2002. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  22. ^ "Nate Archibald hired as ABA coach". United Press International. September 21, 2004.
  23. ^ "Six Players Added to Long Beach Jam Roster". OurSports Central. October 18, 2004.
  24. ^ "Nate Archibald Out, Corey Gaines In as Long Beach Jam Head Coach". OurSports Central. January 17, 2005.


  • Porter, David L. (May 17, 1989). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Basketball and Other Indoor Sports. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6.

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