Richard Francis Dennis "Rick" Barry III, was born March 28, 1944. Some longtime NBA observers consider him to be the greatest pure small forward of all time as a result of his uncanny ability to score, acute court vision, knowledge and execution of team defense principles, tenacious and oft-times demanding will to win and unorthodox but highly accurate underhanded free throw shooting. Barry is among the few elite players who altered their games without losing effectiveness. He broke into the professional ranks as a dominant scorer and consistent rebounder before he became a primary ball distributor and lethal perimeter threat, a move away from the basket that was prompted in part by a major knee injury sustained in the 1968-69 season.

Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in history by the NBA in 1996, Barry is the only player to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), ABA and NBA in scoring for an individual season. His 30.5 points-per-game average in the ABA stands as the highest career total for a player in any professional league. In 1987, Barry was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Barry also ranks on the short list of greatest underdog players in basketball history, as his teams repeatedly overachieved despite marginal talent around him. Longtime NBA writer Paul Ladewski has referred to him as Ricky Balboa, a reference to Rocky Balboa, the prize fighter of motion picture fame who was at his best in the face of long odds. In his Warriors career, Barry played with only one future Hall of Famer in center Nate Thurmond, whose trade paved the way for the first and last league championship team in the Bay Area. Before entering the NBA, he played college basketball at the University of Miami.

March 12, 2014 by Renee White

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