He was the quintessential gym rat. You couldn’t get him off the floor, and soon, you won’t be able to keep him out of the Basketball Hall of Fame anymore. A finalist the last four years to be enshrined, Chris Mullin needs to make it in this time, or wait five more years to be eligible once again.
He won’t have to wait. The phone should be ringing Final Four weekend which is apropos considering Mullin was one of college’s all-time greats in an era when college basketball was at its apex. The Patrick Ewing led Georgetown Hoya’s versus Mullin’s St. John’s teams were epic battles. I think ESPN Classic was designed just to show those games some 25 years later.
Along with Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond, Mullin anchored the Golden State Warriors with that smooth left-handed stroke that found the bottom of the net to the tune of 25+ points per game for 5 straight seasons. TMC became legendary in the Bay Area annals for their exciting style of play, and Mullin was at the forefront after being taken with the 7th pick in the first round of the NBA draft in 1985. The John Wooden Award winner his senior year at St. John’s, Mullin came to a Golden State franchise that had been dormant for years, and since being traded away in 1997, they’ve been dormant again, going to the playoffs just one time, when, by the way, Mullin was the team’s General Manager.
It could have ended another way for Mullin. After a solid first two years in the league, Mullin was more intent on lifting beers than lifting weights. New head Coach Don Nelson convince Chris he needed help. He went into rehab, sobered up, and came out in the best shape of his life. He never looked back, becoming a 5-time All-Star.
Any success the Warriors franchise has had in the past 25 years is a direct result of Chris Mullin either on the court or off of it. Coincidence? I doubt it. A tireless worker, Mullin was a great player, an even better teammate, and a successful GM. Everything he does, he’s done well.
A 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist (first as a collegian in 1984, and then as a member of the 1992 Dream Team), Mullin’s complete body of work is impressive. Enough so to get the call from the Hall of Fame?
It’s a slam dunk. And a left-handed one at that.
About the Author
Written by Scott Johnston
Scott Johnston is a longtime Sports TV Producer/Writer from Los Angeles who now lives just outside of Boston. After a long career at KCAL-TV in L.A., where Scott covered such things as Kirk Gibson’s HR, Hank Gathers death, and Magic Johnson’s retirement, NBA ll-Star Game MVP performance and subsequent return to the NBA. His favorite team is the Oakland A’s and whomever happens to be playing the Yankees, USC or the Cowboys on that particular day. Scott left his staff position at KCAL and formed his own small production company in 1996 while continuing to freelance there and at other stations, including WTTG in DC for two years. His company, ProTVSports, started out covering one team during Spring Training in 1997 but now covers six of the Cactus League teams. He also covers tennis and golf events during the year and has had the privilege of covering 5 NBA Finals, including two of the last three. Scott loves all sports, but considers baseball to be his favorite. He loves politcs, reading, movies and his wife and two daughters—not in that order!