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Billy King: Danny Ferry is "the furthest thing from a racist"

Jeff Zelevansky

Billy King, who played with Danny Ferry at Duke and has been a lifelong friend, on Thursday issued a statement to Zach Lowe of Grantland. Ferry is in the midst of a bit of controversy after a transcript and then audio tape surfaced of the Hawks' GM making an insensitive comment about Luol Deng.

Ferry's position as GM has become increasingly untenable as more and more comes out about his comments regarding Luol Deng during a conference call last June.  Specifically, Ferry said of Deng, then a free agent, that "He's still a young guy, overall. He's a good guy overall, but not perfect. He's got some African in him. And I don't consider that in a bad way."

On Thursday night, the Altanta Journal-Constitution posted a partial audio of the conference call, which increased calls for his resignation.

King and Ferry played at Duke in 1987 and 1988 with King the defensive stalwart and Ferry the scorer. They got to the Final Four in 1988.  King moved into the front office, first with Indiana, then Philly, before Mikhail Prokhorov hired him as GM.  Ferry played 13 years in the NBA before moving into the Cavaliers front office.  After leaving Cleveland in June 2010, he applied for the Nets job the next month, then dropped his bid when he learned King was also being interviewed. He surfaced with the Hawks in 2011. Bob Ferry, Danny's father, is a regional scout for the Nets. Bob Ferry is a two-time winner of the NBA Executive of the Year award.

King and Ferry pulled off one of the biggest trades in recent memory when the Nets shipped six players and a first round pick to Atlanta for Joe Johnson in July 2012.