Friday, August 3, 2012

A Day at the Gym With Golden State Royalty


Since Chris Mullin's birthday just passed a couple days ago a good friend of Trapped in Golden State, Rohit Ghosh, from MettaChronicles.com and BleacherReport.com passed along this personal story.  I'd like to thank Rohit for being a reader and now a contributor for this site and for passing along this awesome story exclusively for our readers.  Thanks again to Rohit and the gang at Metta Chronicles and happy 49th birthday to Mully!


A Day at the Gym With Bay Area Royalty

By Rohit Ghosh


Happy Birthday to a Hall of Famer and Bay Area Legend!

November 2010- It was just another Thursday morning at the Calabasas/Agoura rec center. Mark Jackson, Bryon Russell, and Mitch Richmond (the usuals) were there at 7AM, just like any other Thursday, and just like any other Thursday, were joined by 10-12 of their friends, all of whom can hoop. I was taking a semester off from school, and had become a frequent spectator on these early morning runs, mostly because it was a thrill for me to watch some good pick-up ball. I even had the chance to join them for a few games when they needed an extra player to fill out the teams, and I'm still pretty thankful for Mark and Mitch asking me to play those certain times.

This Thursday, however, things felt a little different. Some [slightly] old left-handed white guy had joined the group. I hadn't seen him in any of the previous pick-up games, and I'd been watch for almost three months straight, so he definitely stood out. As I stood on the side dribbling a ball and waiting for them to get their games going, this white guy was raining threes from almost half-court. And let me add, the three-point line was at regulation distance, and this guy was just making a mockery out of it.
                                                       
The game got going and Russell was matched up with this left-handed assassin. The game was to 11, by 1s and 2s, and both teams traded baskets until 8 points. Nothing spectacular had really happened until this point, with baskets coming from most of the other [non-NBA] guys. This new white dude, the one I'd never seen at any of the games before, only had a basket up to this point and it came on a fast break. Again, nothing special. Yet.

It was tied 8-8, and I heard Bryon Russell say "Let's go, I got Chris". It was at this point things clicked in my head (it was early in the morning, give me a break), and I realized that was CHRIS MULLIN. He had a nice dribble drive the following play, finishing with a left-handed lay-up after a nice in-and-out dribble move with his strong hand. Not bad, I thought. The other side went and scored soon after, and it was tied at 9-9. Mullin came down the floor, drove left, pushed off on Russell, stepped back and drilled a three from 4-5 feet behind the line. Game. Most of the players started celebrating and howling in approval, but I think Russell was complaining about the push-off. By this point, I had moved closer to the players, and heard Mark Jackson say, "Come on Russ, you let everybody push off on you". Everybody laughed for a few seconds, and then just started the next game. 

To them, it was just another game. To me however, just a college kid watching some ex-NBA players hoop, it was more than just a game. I had played with Mark Jackson and Mitch Richmond a few weeks earlier, but for some reason, watching Mullin play was something special. This was a member of the Dream Team in my rec center! 

How would you like to get in a game with a couple of these guys?

Mullin was a problem for the opposition his whole career. In fact, I might even say he might be the most underrated player in NBA history. 25 pts per game at 53% ... he could and still can shoot lights out. There was a time in the early 90s where Mullin was considered the best SG/SF in the league. Okay, let's not talk SG since Jordan was at that position, but we'll say SF.  Pippen hadn't quite become the player he would soon be, Bird was injured, and people just didn't think that highly of Dominique. Mullin took advantage of all that, and was at his peak in the early 90s where he joined the Dream Team and was also a member of the All-NBA first team.

His jumper was smooth as butter. He was very crafty with the ball, and had the ability to hit runners, floaters and finished really well with contact due to his focus. In my opinion, the best part of his game was his consistency. Every single night, you knew what you were going to get from the guy. In the 91 playoffs, I think it was game two, he absolutely murdered Magic in the Warriors/Lakers series. Magic went on to compare Mullin to the great Larry Bird. That right there should tell you enough about the guy. 

Nowadays, Mullin is often seen on TV, providing some commentary and analysis to NBA games. There's no doubt about it, he has the best voice/accent in the business - that phenomenal Brooklyn accent is music to my ears. 

Always a gym rat and always a sharpshooter

As someone who spent my younger years in Southern California with Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers I grew up a Faker fan (Trapped in Golden State edit…HA!) but I always had a soft spot for the flat top after their 1991 duel in the playoffs.  It was one of the greatest shooting displays I’ve seen to this day.  I started following the Warriors even closer after moving to the Bay Area during college and I wish we could have seen more playoff battles between my teams.  With all this said, I'd like to wish the legendary Warrior a happy 49th birthday!  Keep doing your thing Mully.


Note from Justin Taylor: First of all I'm jealous.  What I wouldn't give to get in a pick up game with Mitch Richmond, Mark Jackson and/or Chris Mullin!  If any readers your own personal stories of encounters with current or former Warriors (whether they are of a great meeting like Rohit's or someone who was a jerk, I'm sure there's a great Rick Barry story out there somewhere...lol) please post them in the comments for everyone's enjoyment.  If you think your story should be considered for its own post on Trapped in Golden State email me at trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com.  

8 comments:

  1. Great photo above of Chris Mullin above. One thing that set him apart to me was his consistency at the skills he brought to the game. Yet with me he possessed the ability to set himself above others with his study of intelligent basketball thinking and the ability to execute those thoughts. Maybe one of the smartest players to ever pick up a basketball. Remember smiling when GS got him out of St. John at #7. This guy has supreme confidence few have. Understood the word refinement. True viewing enjoyment lost due to his retirement. Sad days when his stay in Oakland turned to Indiana but that's business I guess. It's too bad his common sense style had left The Arena. Hopefully to return at tip off time shortly. Does GS possess a player who will step up to move this team forward? No matter the true understanding of team games is the issue anyway & execution now seems to be what matters. If we play our cards correctly this could be interesting season. S

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    1. If Curry and Thompson can replicate 70% of his legendary work ethic they've got a shot. Run TMC (the best Mullin teams) never had an Andrew Bogut of even a David Lee up front so let's keep our fingers crossed that these guys stay healthy and have that burning desire to constantly improve their own games.

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    2. JT this is a great point. This also means to me that the current lineup can survive if we lose a star due to injury.

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  2. shot from the hip, because that's how I do it, and off subject too... Why is the media saying the Howard to Lakers deal if bad for the Dubs? They were already better than us! This doesn't change anything. Nuggets are better now too, but most likely they were better than us to begin with. It hurts the Twolves, Jazz, and Mavs as much as it hurts us. Those are the teams we are competing against this year, likely for one of the last playoff spots. Haha! In 3 years, the Lakers are garbage.

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    1. You aren't off topic Shawn, right now this is the only topic. I agree with everything you said except the last line. My biggest problem with Howard in LA (unless he leaves them hanging after next season which would be freaking awesome!) is that it's already a top free agent destination (and an NBA hotbed for terrible trades that benefit them) so once Kobe finally breaks down (hopefully sooner then later) people are going to be falling all over themselves to play with Dwight in LA.

      I think that the biggest down years will be after this season through 2015 when Dwight gets huge money, Nash's back is failing and Kobe's knees are failing...They will have almost $60 million tied up in those three guys alone! The following year when Nash and Kobe start coming off the books they will ramp it right back up and we'll be bitching about it all over again.

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    2. Denver won this trade EASILY. They get Igoudala and get rid of Harringtons gigantic contract for Afflalo and a 2015 protected first. Talk about a robbery!

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    3. I think it's safe to say the only team that got screwed in this deal is the Magic. They're cap space in 2014 is no different then it was yesterday and Free Agents didn't flock there when they had a top 3 player...I don't see why they'd start now.

      Philly pulled Bynum and JRich for AI and Harkless

      Denver got AI for Harrington, Afflalo and a protected pick or two

      And LA got......I don't want to talk about it anymore...

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    4. my playoff predictions... this was fun. http://shawnkfrazier.com/?p=327

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