Nate Archibald turns 64 on Sunday. Tim Hardaway celebrates his 46th birthday on Saturday, the same day that Guy Rodgers, who died in 2001, would have turned 77. Having birthdays on the same weekend is not all that connects these great point guards, though.
Archibald, Hardaway and Rodgers were all known as peerless ballhandlers and elite playmakers, and all stood 6-foot-1 or shorter. All three attended urban public high schools even though de facto "basketball factory" prep schools were gaining popularity when Hardaway attended Carver Area High School on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s.
Archibald and Hardaway both attended the University of Texas-El Paso, and each cited the history made by coach Don Haskins with the 1966 team in his decision to play for the Miners. Archibald transferred to the school, then known as Texas Western, just one year after Haskins started five black players in a victory over Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA Championship Game.
Two of the point guards (Hardaway and Rodgers) were drafted by the Warriors and two were drafted out of college by pro teams in the same state as their schools (Temple alum Rodgers by the Philadelphia Warriors, UTEP alum Archibald by the Texas Chaparrals of the ABA).
The finest season by any of these three celebrated players came in 1972-73, when Archibald became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same season. He dished out 910 assists that season, breaking the previous record of 908 — which Rodgers had set seven years earlier.
Happy birthdays, gentlemen.