Tomorrow the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will induct the class of 2011. Members of this year's class include Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Artis Gilmore, Tara VanDerveer, Teresa Edwards, Arvydas Sabonis, Herb Magee, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Tex Winter, and Reece “Goose” Tatum. So far we've profiled the careers of Tex Winter, Reece "Goose Tatum, Arvydas Sabonis, Dennis Rodman, and Artis Gilmore. Chris Mullin is below.
There might not be all that many more US-born white boys to play their way into the Naismith Hall of Fame on an NBA hardwood for a while after Chris Mullin officially does so on Friday.
John Stockton's already in, and maybe guys like Mark Price, Rex Chapman, Thunder Dan and Jeff Hornacek have a chance, but that's pretty doubtful. Wally Szcerbiak's not getting in there for sure, and I don't think Jason Williams, Kirk Heinrich, Luke Ridnour or Birdman stand much of a chance of getting in either. Although Birdman's bronze bust with a mohawk would be pretty spectacular.
Regardless of that though, if Chris Mullin taught the basketball world anything it's that nobody cares what you look like walking up to the court so long as you can ball once you step on it. Growing up in Brooklyn during the '80's, Mullin was known for traveling to the Bronx and Harlem to compete against the best players New York had to offer. His flat-top might have seemed funny when he stepped on the floor back then, but his game was never a joke. He went to high school in Bay Ridge Brooklyn at Xaverian High, and then moved onto Queens to play for St. John's. A few short years after his days as a young gun high school kid looking to compete against the best in any borough, he became known as the best player in all of New York. He went on to be the best player in the Big East too, for three straight seasons as a member of the Johnnies after that, along with being named an All American. He helped the '84 US Team win an Olympic Gold Medal before turning pro that following year, and he'd come back as a Dream Teamer to win another one in 1992 as well.
The Golden State Warriors would go on to draft Chris Mullin 7th overall in 1985, and four years later he'd team up with Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway to form the trio known as "Run TMC" - my favorite basketball group of all time by the way. For five straight years, from 1988 to 1993, Mullin averaged over 25 points per game and the Warriors made the playoffs each of those five seasons. After teaming up with Larry Bird on the Dream Team in 1992, Larry traded for Mullin after being named head coach of the Pacers. Chris played three seasons in Indiana, averaging 11 points per game and shooting it over forty percent from the floor before eventually retiring a year later.
He works now for ESPN after a four year run in the front office as VP of Basketball Operations out in the Bay Area for the Warriors. A report came out this morning that Donnie Walsh wanted to hire Mullin as the GM of the Knicks prior to resigning from his post as Team President this summer, but James Dolan wouldn't let him do it because the move just made too much sense. Chris Mullin was New York basketball, nobody embodied it more, and you can still hear it in every word that he speaks. He averaged 18 points over a collection of 986 NBA games, and he was a five time All Star along with being named All NBA four times.
He started out as just some kid from Brooklyn who could shoot it from anywhere, and he shot himself into the Hall of Fame. It might make sense for Jay-Z's Brooklyn We Go Hard to be blaring over the audio as Mullin makes his way up to the stage tomorrow, because he went as hard as anybody. Congrats on everything Chris.
Photo Credit: NBA.com