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Rod Strickland lists his top 5 New York City point guards

The Bronx legend and Long Island University men’s basketball head coach shares his favorites, from Dwayne ‘Pearl’ Washington to Stephon Marbury

When it came to producing top-tier point guards, New York City was long considered the mecca. That’s not a hot take, it’s a fact and the top 20 list of NBA all-time leaders in assists proves it: Four players are from New York (Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland, Lenny Wilkens and Bob Cousy), more than any other city.

The long list of great New York City point guards demonstrates a variety of accomplishments and skill sets: Cousy, from Manhattan, was a six-time NBA champion; Rafer Alston (Queens) helped take streetball into the mainstream, parlaying that into an NBA career; God Shammgod (Brooklyn/Harlem) was so creative he has a signature move, the Shammgod, named after him.

Rod Strickland (The Bronx) was one of the point guards featured in the documentary NYC Point Gods, which was released by Showtime in July. Andscape caught up with Strickland at Long Island University, where he’s entering his first year as a head coach, and asked him to name his top five New York City point guards (excluding himself). Here’s his list, in no particular order:

Dwayne ‘Pearl’ Washington, Brooklyn

My idol, and one of the first guys I put on a pedestal. There were times I’d walk across the bridge from The Bronx to Manhattan to see him play, me and thousands of people waiting for him to come to the park because we knew he’d put on a show. He was everything to everybody. Every guard in my era wanted to be Pearl Washington.

Whenever I was around him — even when I made it to the NBA and he was out the league — I felt like a little kid. When he passed [in 2016], I watched some of his videos with the in-and-out moves, the throwing the ball into the frontcourt in transition, the moving around a defender while making layups, and I was like ‘s—, that’s me.’ There’s a lot I took from his game.

Kenny Anderson, Queens

Kenny Anderson captivated the city at a young age and you have to put him in the conversation of being the greatest PG to come from New York. 

The razzle-dazzle, the eyes he had on him — we were in the pros idolizing him while he was in college. I still remember watching him when he played for the Nets put a move on Joe Dumars that almost made him hit his head on the scorer’s table. Great handle, great finisher; he was special.

Stephon Marbury, Brooklyn

Steph, to me, is like one of the most dangerous guards from New York. Just physically strong, with a killer mentality. A guy you always had to worry about.

He was a problem for me because he could match my speed, my physicality. He was the total package and I knew that each time I played against Steph, I knew I had to get my rest. 

Steph got it done his whole career. Just look at what he did in high school, college, his pro numbers and all he did in China. For all that he accomplished, Steph should be in the Hall of Fame.

Mark Jackson, Queens

Mark Jackson is a brainchild, a point guard deluxe. He could control a game with 16 points and 16 assists, or two points and 20 assists. Just IQ off the charts.

When he was with the New York Knicks, Mark always had the ability to make people on his team think they were better than they were. Classic eyes in the back of his head, and just a natural feel for the game.

Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald

The cream of the crop. A top 50 player of all time. And he’s from the Bronx, where I’m from. So he was my inspiration.

Tiny had his own basket in the basketball court at Patterson projects — I’m from Mitchell projects right down the street — and we’d always see him shooting on it. I’d go down the street to watch him, and he’d bring Walt Frazier, Julius Erving and other NBA guys with him. Tiny is a Hall of Famer. He led the league in points and assists in the same season. He was tough. I put Pearl on a pedestal, but Tiny is special to me because he was the first pro I laid my eyes on.

Jerry Bembry is a senior writer at Andscape. His bucket list items include being serenaded by Lizz Wright and watching the Knicks play a MEANINGFUL NBA game in June.