Otis Birdsong was a member of the Kansas City Kings for only four seasons, but in that time he managed to play the best basketball of his career and validate the team’s decision to select him with the number two overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft.
Birdsong took his job at the shooting guard position incredibly seriously, in that he played the part in prototypical fashion. He was quick off the dribble and could maneuver past defenders with a terrific mid-range jumper which he could unleash coming off screens or fire off the dribble and make with consistency.
A three-time All-Star with the team, Otis increased his scoring average in each of his four campaigns as a resident of Kansas City, topping out at 24.6 per game on 54.4 percent shooting, an excellent mark with incredible efficiency for the score-first guard out of the University of Houston.
It was during this season — the 1980-81 campaign- that Birdsong would help lead the Kings to their best finish in thirty years, a birth in the Conference Finals as the fifth seed, where they’d eventually succumb to the mighty Houston Rockets.
Birdson would go on to suit up for both the New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics in what would ultimately be a fruitful 12-year career, but neither location would bring as much success as Kansas City.
He didn’t lead them to the ultimate goal of a championship, but Birdsong did elevate the Kings to a level they hadn’t been to since the team was in a different city with another name, and that has to count for something.