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Charlie Ward Bio, Life, and Career:
He was a member of the National Basketball Association (NBA) throughout his playing career in the United States. Charlie Ward Jr. was born in the United States on October 12, 1970. As a quarterback with the Florida State Seminoles, Ward was an outstanding collegiate football player as well, winning the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the College Football National Championship during his time there.
During his nine years with the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Ward had one start in the 1999 NBA Finals. After that, he spent a brief amount of time with both the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets before calling it quits in 2005. In 2006, he was honored by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. As a quarterback for Florida State University in 1993, Ward was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Davey O’Brien Award.
He went on to lead the Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship, which they achieved by defeating Nebraska 18–16 in the 1993 Orange Bowl. The Seminoles suffered their first loss of the season against a Notre Dame team that was ranked second, but a week later, their road to the National Championship was cleared when the Irish were defeated at home by Boston College.
Only Joe Burrow’s 1,846-point win in 2019 and O. J. Simpson’s 1,750-point win in 1968 and Troy Smith’s 1,662-point win in 2006 have had larger margins of victory in the history of the Heisman trophy balloting than Ward’s 1,622 point differential. Ward currently has the fourth-largest margin of victory in the history of the Heisman trophy balloting. In addition to that, he was the only Heisman Trophy winner to ever play in the NBA.
Charlie Ward was recognized by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as the best outstanding amateur athlete in the United States and was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award for his achievements in 1993. Additionally, throughout his time at Florida State University (FSU), Ward participated in the sport of basketball. Previous teammates include Bob Sura, Doug Edwards, and Sam Cassell, all of whom went on to play in the NBA.
His squad from 1993 competed all the way to the Southeast Regional Final when they were defeated by Kentucky 106–81. The winner of that game went on to compete in the Final Four. The 1992 squad that Ward coached advanced to the Sweet 16. In 1991, he hit the shot that won the game for his team in the championship game of the Metro Conference Tournament, which they won against Louisville. Ward continues to retain the Florida State University basketball records for most career steals with 236, most steals in a single game with 9, and sixth place all-time in assists with 396.
He joined the basketball team barely 15 days after finding out he had won the Heisman Trophy, which resulted in him playing a shorter season during his senior year. That year, he set a college career best in points per game (10.5 per season) and assists per game (4.9 per season) while starting all 16 games he played in at the point guard position.
At the time of his graduation, Ward indicated that he did not know whether he wanted to play professional basketball or football, and he made it quite apparent that he would not even consider playing in the NFL if he was not taken in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Ward asserted that he “deserved to” be selected in the first round of the draft. According to the statements made by Ward’s mother, the family was informed that he “was probably a third- to fifth-round pick.”
Ward was not taken in the first round of the NFL Draft because of his shorter stature and the question of whether or not he would play in the NBA. After being selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1994 NBA draft (26th overall), he began his career in the NBA as a point guard. His team was the New York Knicks. During the rookie season that Ward spent with the Knicks, the Kansas City Chiefs made an inquiry into the possibility of his becoming Joe Montana’s backup quarterback.
However, Ward turned down the opportunity. Aside from Bo Jackson in Major League Baseball, Ward is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play professionally in the NBA. Jackson is the only other Heisman Trophy winner to play professionally in another Big 4 league.
Although Pat Riley, the head coach of the Knicks, gave Ward limited playing time during his rookie season, the Knicks organization nonetheless referred to him as “the point guard of the future.” Following the promotion of assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy to the role of head coach, Ward’s minutes on the court started to grow, and he eventually became the primary backup for point guard Derek Harper.
Because of his tireless work ethic and selfless approach to the game, he quickly became a fan favorite in New York. During his time in the NBA, Ward made a name for himself as a solid three-point shooter, a dependable ball distributor, and a well-respected floor captain. Ward was given the opportunity to compete in the three-point contest at the 1998 NBA All-Star Game, where he ended up finishing in fourth place.
Soon after, he was able to assist the Knicks in reaching the 1999 NBA Finals, where they were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs. Ward was sent to the Phoenix Suns in the blockbuster trade that sent Stephon Marbury to the New York Knicks in February of 2004, however, the Suns did not keep him on their roster for long before releasing him due to contract concerns.
The remainder of the season was spent by Ward with the Spurs, and the following summer he signed a contract with the Houston Rockets. In spite of generally good health throughout his first decade in the league, Ward was sidelined for the majority of the 2004–2005 season due to injuries that he sustained. Ward’s injuries forced him to retire from his job.
During the time that he played for the Knicks, Ward was frequently referred to as the “best quarterback in New York.” This was owing to the fact that the New York Jets and the New York Giants had a difficult time finding a suitable quarterback. Unbelievably, Ward was the final draft pick selected by the Knicks to sign a multiyear contract with the franchise following the completion of their rookie deal, which had been in effect for 23 years.
In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat in 1997, when the Knicks led the series 3–1, Ward attempted to box out P. J. Brown. The Knicks were leading the series 3–1. Brown grew enraged as he tried to come inside after the free throw shot, and in retaliation, he lifted Ward up and body-slammed him. This caused Brown to lose his temper. A fight that involved emptying the benches broke out as a result of this.
Following Miami’s 96–81 victory, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, and Ward himself were all handed suspensions by the National Basketball Association (NBA). According to the rules of the NBA, Ewing, Houston, Johnson, and Starks were all required to serve their suspensions because they left the bench during the altercation. Brown was given a suspension for the remainder of the series, Ewing, Ward, and Houston received suspensions for Game 6, and Johnson and Starks received suspensions for Game 7 of the series.
The Knicks were short-handed as a result of the sanctions, and they suffered losses to Miami in Games 6 and 7 by scores of 95–90 and 101–90, respectively. As a result, the Knicks were unable to progress to the Eastern Conference Finals. The end result was that Miami was defeated by the Chicago Bulls in five games.
Charlie Ward Profile-
The Ward Foundation
3551 Blairstone Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
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