Throwback Thursday - Chris Mullin
Christopher Paul "Chris" Mullin, born July 30, 1963, is the former general manager of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. He is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team"), and in 2011 for his individual career).
Mullin played shooting guard and small forward in the NBA from 1985 to 2001. After playing at St. John's University, during which time he won Big East Men's Basketball Player of the Year three times and was a member of the 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball team, Mullin was chosen as the seventh pick by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 1985 NBA Draft. He returned to the Olympics in 1992 as a member of the "Dream Team", which was the first American Olympic basketball team to include professional players.
In the 1985 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Mullin in the first round with the seventh pick. In Mullin's first three seasons with the Warriors, he was primarily a spot-up shooting guard playing in the backcourt alongside Eric "Sleepy" Floyd. In his second season, 1986–87, the Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semifinals under George Karl, where they lost to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. The next season, Don Nelson became the Warriors' coach and had plans to move Mullin to small forward. During his third season in the NBA, Mullin admitted to Nelson that he was an alcoholic. After missing several practices, Mullin was suspended, then entered an alcohol rehabilitation program.
For five consecutive seasons, from 1988 until 1993, Mullin scored an average of 25 or more points and five rebounds. Additionally, the Warriors made five straight playoff appearances. Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and 1989 first-round draftee Tim Hardaway formed the trio "Run TMC" that were the focal stars of this playoff run. A five-time All-Star, Mullin also won Olympic gold twice—as a member of the 1984 amateur team, and for the 1992 Dream Team. During the 1992 Summer Olympics, Mullin, who started two games, averaged 12.9 points per game, shot 61.9% from the field and 53.8% from the three-point land. In 1993, Nelson traded for Chris Webber on NBA Draft day, hoping to make the Warriors stronger in the frontcourt. Mullin's body began breaking down, and he began to miss significant numbers of games. The Warriors had a successful first season with Webber, but he and Nelson began to bicker over his use as a player. This led Nelson to resign, and subsequent coaches saw Mullin as injury-prone and began to center the team around Latrell Sprewell. Mullin was traded after the 1996–97 season to the Indiana Pacers for second-year center Erick Dampier and NBA journeyman Duane Ferrell.
In his first season with the Pacers, coached by Larry Bird, Mullin started all 82 games, averaged 11.3 points per game, and helped the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in game seven. Bird began to phase Mullin out and give more time to Jalen Rose at small forward during his second season with the team. As a member of the Indiana Pacers, Mullin, who was primarily a bench player at this time, appeared in three games of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers and scored four points total. After that season, Mullin was waived by the Pacers. He then once again signed with Warriors for the 2000–01 season, his last season as a player.
According to Jim O'Brien, Mullin was similar to NBA legend Larry Bird because both players lacked speed, had a great outside shot and had the innate ability to put their defender off guard. He was on the All-NBA second team (1989 and 1991), third team (1990), and first team (1992).