The King of The Ring: Abraham “Abe” Columbus King Jr.
There was a time when events were recorded by word of mouth, believe it or not. Stories passed on from one person to another. These stories are called legends.
These days, the term “legend” gets thrown around a lot; everyone can be a legend; every event can be shown on social media as they happen. Then their exploits are called legendary.
During the 70s and the 80s, if you did not stay up late at night, or you did not have the game tickets to show, you may have probably never seen basketball legends dominate the PBA.
One legend has it that Philippine basketball once had a player who ruled the “boards,” or rebounds, so thoroughly that people called him the “Chairman of the Board.” His name is Abraham “Abe” Columbus King, Jr.
The Toyota Tamaraws
Abe King Jr. was part of the champion PBA Ballclub, the legendary Toyota Tamaraws. He was dubbed “King Bedan” in 1976 and was responsible for powering the San Beda Red Lions to a runner-up finish in that year.
Fans who never got to see him play the game do not know how great he was back then. He once scored 60 points in a single game, a feat only a handful of players have ever accomplished.
Right place at the wrong time
Abe King is the epitome of an underrated player. He was among the players who came in at the right place at the wrong time: when he first donned a PBA uniform, guys like Ramon Fernandez, Bogs Adornado, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, and Robert Jaworski were the kings of the court.
At his peak, the new wave of great players like Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Benjie Paras, and Nelson Asaytono was already starting to make a name for themselves. That is why despite his immense talent and consistent level of play, King made the Mythical Five only once in his career.
Atoy Co and Philip Cezar
His best year was in 1987 when he won a championship with Great Taste with the help of Co and Cezar. “I’d say that year was one of the fondest memories, and enjoyable years I had with Great Taste because we won a championship with the help of Philip and Atoy,” Abe told ESPN.com.
Best player, but not in the mythical?
For that year, however, he felt the league underappreciated his accomplishments. “In the majority of the games we won, I was named Best Player, and I wondered why I wasn’t included in the Mythical Second team,” Abe added.
Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera
At the twilight of his career in the early 90s, he acted as a mentor to Patrimonio and Codinera as he played for Purefoods. After winning another championship, Abe King Jr. retired at the end of the 1994 season.
Moving to America
In 1998, Abe King Jr. relocated to the United States along with his family and now lives in Gig Harbor, Washington. There he remains active in basketball, giving out real-life assists to former PBA players like Abet Guidaben, who suffered a stroke in 2012, and Rudy Distrito, who had a run-in with the law.
Today, Abe King Jr. continues to inspire, teaming up with other former legends to play exhibition games for charity. He organized the PBA Legends US tour so he can help more people and support charities.
Funding his own charity
He supports needy but deserving students in the Philippines, which he jokingly says gets him into trouble with his wife because of all the expenses since he funds his charities with his own money.
Real-life legends may be hard to come by; they are dwindling in numbers. But if you look hard enough, you will still capture a glimpse of a few of them who remain. Abe King Jr. may no longer be visible to PBA fans, but his exploits on and off the court are truly legendary.