The accomplished centre-half had problems with his knees throughout his time on the pitch and famously could not train between matches.
King has announced his retirement from the game this summer, and has spoken of the frustration of never being fully fit.
“It’s amazing that I played as long as I did really when I think back to the first game of my career at Pride Park,” he told The Sun.
“It was my first start for Spurs, I was playing in midfield and after about 30 seconds I was clattered by Rory Delap.
“I just about managed to complete the game but I needed an operation on my left knee afterwards which kept me out for six weeks. I’ve been having operations on that knee ever since.
“You could say that was the start of the end and it was only four days after my 19th birthday.
“I quickly grasped that I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be but I still felt I could be very good.
“It was probably most frustrating for the first year or so but it could have all been over after that first game so I came to accept how things were.
“There is a lot of disappointment though because I know it could have been different,” he concluded.
By Gareth McKnight