Charlie Ward

Last updated
Charlie Ward
Personal information
Born (1970-10-12) October 12, 1970 (age 51)
Thomasville, Georgia
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school Thomas County Central
(Thomasville, Georgia)
College Florida State (1990–1994)
NBA draft 1994 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career1994–2005
Position Point guard
Number21, 17
Career history
19942004 New York Knicks
2004 San Antonio Spurs
2004–2005 Houston Rockets
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 3,947 (6.3 ppg)
Rebounds 1,648 (2.6 rpg)
Assists 2,539 (4.0 apg)
Stats   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg at
Stats at

Charlie Ward Jr. (born October 12, 1970) is a former American professional Basketball player, as well as a College Football Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award winner.


He won the College Football National Championship with the Florida State Seminoles in 1993. Despite his NCAA Football success, Ward is one of the few players who won a Heisman Trophy but was not drafted in the NFL draft.

Ward played for nine years with the New York Knicks and started in the 1999 NBA Finals. He later had short spells with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets, before retiring in 2005. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

College football

Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward 1991.jpg
Florida State SeminolesNo. 17
Position Quarterback
Personal information
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career history
Bowl games
High schoolThomas County Central
Career highlights and awards
College Football Hall of Fame (2006)

Ward won the 1993 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Davey O'Brien Award as a quarterback for The Florida State University, and subsequently led the Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship when FSU defeated Nebraska 18–16 in the 1993 Orange Bowl. The Seminoles had suffered their only defeat of the season to a second-ranked Notre Dame team, but their path to the National Championship was cleared a week later when the Irish were upset at home by Boston College. Ward holds the fourth-largest margin of victory in the history of Heisman trophy balloting, with a 1,622-point difference, fourth only to Joe Burrow's 1,846 point win in 2019, O. J. Simpson's 1,750-point win in 1968 [1] and Troy Smith's 1,662-point win in 2006. He was also the only Heisman winner to play in the NBA. In 1993, Charlie Ward won the James E. Sullivan Award from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.

CmpAttPctYdsAvgTDInt Rtg AttYdsAvgTD
1989 Florida State 050.000.001-40.022110.50
1990 Florida State Redshirt
1991 Florida State 5955.6687.600119.05255.00
1992 Florida State 20436555.92,6477.32217127.41005045.06
1993 Florida State 26438069.53,0328.0274157.8653395.24

College basketball

Ward also played basketball for four years at The Florida State University (FSU). Former teammates included future NBA players Bob Sura, Doug Edwards, and Sam Cassell. His 1993 team made it to the Southeast Regional Final where they lost to Kentucky 106–81 with the winner advancing to the Final Four. Ward's 1992 team made the Sweet Sixteen. He made the game-winning shot in its Metro Conference Tournament Championship game win over Louisville in 1991. Ward still holds FSU basketball records for career steals at 236 and steals in one game at 9, and ranks sixth all-time in assists at 396. He played a shortened season his senior year, joining the basketball team just 15 days after winning the Heisman Trophy. He started 16 games at the point guard position that year, and averaged a college career high of 10.5 points and 4.9 assists for the season.

1990–91 Florida State 3023.8.455.313.7133.
1991–92 Florida State 282230.0.497.458.5303.
1992–93 Florida State 171432.8.462.320.6672.
1993–94 Florida State 161635.9.365.253.6253.

Professional career

Upon graduation, Ward stated he was undecided about professional basketball or football and made it clear that he would not consider playing in the NFL unless selected in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Ward proclaimed that he "deserved to" be a first-rounder. [2] Ward's mother reported that the family was told he "was probably a third- to fifth-round pick." [3] Due to his smaller stature and uncertainty about whether he would play in the NBA, Ward was not selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Having been chosen in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, he began his career in the NBA as a point guard. An inquiry was made during Ward's rookie year with the Knicks for him to become the backup quarterback for Joe Montana of the Kansas City Chiefs, but Ward declined. Ward is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in the NBA.

Ward played sparingly in his rookie year under head coach Pat Riley, but the Knicks organization referred to him as "the point guard of the future." When assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy took over the head coaching position, Ward's time on the floor began to increase, becoming the primary backup for point guard Derek Harper. He became a fan favorite in New York for his hard work ethic and unselfish play. During his NBA career, Ward established himself as a good three-point shooter, a reliable ball distributor, and a respected floor leader. Ward was selected to participate in the 1998 NBA All-Star three-point competition, finishing fourth in the event. He soon helped the Knicks reach the 1999 NBA Finals before falling to the San Antonio Spurs. Ward was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 2004 as part of the blockbuster trade that brought Stephon Marbury to the Knicks and was promptly cut by the Suns for salary purposes. Ward spent the remainder of the season with the Spurs and signed a contract with the Houston Rockets the following summer. After maintaining relatively good health over his first decade in the league, injuries caused Ward to miss most of the 2004–05 season. Because of his injuries Ward retired.

During his time with the Knicks, Ward was often called the "best quarterback in New York" due to the struggles that the New York Jets and New York Giants had at the position. [4] [5]

Off the court, Ward became known for his extensive charitable work through groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2011, at the NCAA Final Four, Ward received the John Wooden Keys to Life award given for continued excellence and integrity on and off the court.

Ward established The aWard Foundation to enhance the lives of young people through sports based mentoring and educational programs. [6]


In Game 5 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat, with the Knicks holding a 3–1 series lead, Ward tried to box out P. J. Brown. When he tried to get inside after the free throw shot, Brown became frustrated, then retaliated by lifting Ward up and body-slamming him. This caused a bench-clearing brawl to ensue. After Miami won the game 96–81, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, and Ward himself, were suspended by the NBA. Ewing, Houston, Johnson, and Starks left the bench during the brawl, which was mandatory cause for suspension according to NBA rules. Brown was suspended for the rest of the series; Ewing, Ward and Houston were suspended for Game 6, and Johnson and Starks were suspended for Game 7. Due to the suspensions, the Knicks were shorthanded and lost Games 6 and 7 to Miami 95–90 and 101–90, respectively, failing to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami would go on to lose to the Chicago Bulls in five games.

In 2001, while playing for the Knicks, it was discovered that Ward had made disparaging comments about Jews during a Bible-study session, comments that were eventually leaked to the press. Among the comments made: "Jews are stubborn...tell me, why did they persecute Jesus unless He knew something they didn't want to accept...They had His blood on their hands." [7]

There was outrage directed at Ward from Jewish groups, the public, as well as the Knicks organization itself. Ward defended himself by saying "I didn't mean to offend any one group because that's not what I'm about. I have friends that are Jewish. Actually, my friend is a Jewish guy, and his name is Jesus Christ." [7] He also said the quotes were taken out of context, as he stated that "Jews are stubborn" in speaking to what he perceived to be their disinclination to convert to Christianity. [8]

Ward eventually apologized for those statements, with his apology being accepted by the Anti-Defamation League. [9]

Career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage 3P%  3-point field goal percentage FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high


1994–95 New York 1004.
1995–96 New York 62112.7.399.333.6851.
1996–97 New York 792122.3.395.312.762.
1997–98 New York 828228.3.455.377.8053.
1998–99 New York 505031.1.404.356.7053.
1999–00 New York 726927.6.423.386.8283.
2000–01 New York 613324.5.416.383.8002.
2001–02 New York 63016.8.373.323.8102.
2002–03 New York 66622.2.399.378.7742.
2003–04 New York 351023.6.442.428.7622.
2003–04 San Antonio 36011.8.346.368.6671.
2004–05 Houston 141325.7.312.314.8462.
1996 New York 7013.1.481.250.4291.
1997 New York 9020.
1998 New York 101026.1.418.429.6882.
1999 New York 202024.7.366.321.7502.
2000 New York 161627.4.504.396.7144.
2001 New York 5017.2.296.2501.0001.
2004 San Antonio 502.6.6671.

Personal life

Ward is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. [10] He and his wife Tonja have three children: Caleb, Hope, and Joshua (Trashaun) [11] [12] In June 2007, Ward was hired as an assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team by Westbury Christian School in Houston, Texas, having passed on many professional sports opportunities. He was previously an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets. In addition, in November 2007, he accepted the job as head coach for the varsity football team at Westbury Christian School, stating that his desire is to help prepare young minds for Christ. [13] In February 2014, it was announced that Ward accepted the head coaching position at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, where his son Caleb would be attending and playing football. As of March 8, 2018, Charlie is the Ambassador of Football for Florida State University. In March 2018, Ward became the head Boys' Basketball coach for Florida State University Schools (FSUS or Florida High) in Tallahassee, Florida. Currently Florida High's Boys Basketball program has improved since Ward's arrival. Charlie is also the host of a web series, Chalk Talk with Charlie Ward, where he discusses his thoughts on Florida State Seminole Football.

In June 2018, while on a church mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico, Ward suffered a stroke. He since made a full recovery. Ward switched to a vegan diet and began a more consistent workout regimen to improve his health and prevent another stroke in the future. [14]

Acting career

Charlie Ward made his acting debut on the Netflix comedy series Family Reunion episode "Remember M'dear's Fifteen Minutes?" playing himself in 2020. [15]

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  1. Heisman Trophy Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Charlie Still Ward-ing Off NFL Talk". New York Daily News. December 10, 1995.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. "Charlie Ward". CNN. May 30, 1994.
  4. "Ward's playoff-high lifts Knicks to win". Deseret News. Associated Press. May 15, 2000. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016.
  5. Mike Bruton (December 11, 1994). "Was Color A Consideration When The Nfl Snubbed Ward? "All I Know Is, They Didn't Give Me An Opportunity And The Nba Did," Last Year's Heisman Winner Said". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  6. D'Agostino, Dennis. "Charlie's Community Mission". Archived from the original on 2012-11-10.
  7. 1 2 "jamming jews". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  8. "PRO BASKETBALL; Ward Refers Writers to Bible". The New York Times. 22 April 2001.
  9. "ADL Accepts Apology of New York Knicks Player Charlie Ward; Stresses Importance of Education - Press Release". Archived from the original on 2006-04-21.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Kutz, Jerry. "Ward alive and well in Houston, Helping shape boys to men". Archived from the original on 10 December 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  12. Lee Gordon. "FSU QBs: Where Are They Now?". Tallahassee Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  13. Rockets' assistant coach Ward named high school assistant coach June 14, 2007
  14. "Episode 069 — Retired NBA Star Charlie Ward Shares his Stroke and Lifestyle". Strokecast. 2019-05-24. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  15. ""Family Reunion" Remember M'dear's Fifteen Minutes? (TV Episode 2020)".