#33. Chris Childs

 

Best Season as a Knick: 2006-07, age 29. 9.3 points, 6.1 assists, 39% on threes, 

Either Chris Childs was a bullish deviant with his fair share of temper problems, or a tough, no nonsense, proud man who demanded respect everywhere he went—depending on how you look at him.

Not to promote violence as a means to solve petty differences, in any way, shape, or form, but this clip does a great job in explaining why Chris Childs was so endearing in his time as New York Knickerbocker. Far from a top-1o player at his own position, and quite possibly a consistent basement dweller in his own division, Childs scraped by on a strong combination of hustle and fearlessness—both traits he exemplified off as well as on the court.

Using stats to define Chris Childs is futile—unless, of course, you’re choosing to correctly paint him as someone incapable of making an All-Star team—because despite being from California, what he embodied was pure New York. He began his professional career in the CBA, playing for five different teams in his first three seasons before being named the league’s MVP in 1994. He never gave up; never backed down.

The basketball obituary of Chris Childs boils down to the jabs he threw at the league’s then Golden Boy—and to a lesser extent, this confrontation with Michael Jordan—but he should more be remembered for his thankless role as an unflinching defensive instigator.

(In terms of disrupting the league’s natural player hierarchy, the ice Childs chose to teeter out on after punking Kobe Bryant shattered like a picture frame falling through slippery fingers; he simply couldn’t come to grips with why his punishment was levied as a two game suspension and $15,000 fine, while Kobe only received one game and $5,000.)

Chris Childs, a player who entered the league at the age of 27 (normally a time when players are five, six year veterans hitting their peak), couldn’t understand where he stood in the league alongside the game’s most dynamic player. It’s both foolish and admirable. So is placing him on this list.

 

Twitter: @BucketsOverBway