Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Run-TMC reunion? Sure but not quite.

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A Run-TMC reunion? Sure but not quite.
by rick olivares

Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond are two of the hopefuls to be inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in April of this year. If elected, they will rejoin former Golden State Warriors teammate Chris Mullin (who was enshrined in 2011) in the Hall of Fame thus reuniting the famed Run-TMC trio.

If that happens it will be a huge day for Golden State fans. Despite being a Chicago Bulls fan, I have made no bones about having a soft spot for the Warriors.

I rooted (to a lesser extent) for the Warriors mainly because of Chris Mullin whose career I followed when he was playing for the St. John’s Redmen. The first replica NBA jersey I ever bought was Mullin’s Golden State #17 (that I bought in 1991 in Oakland). I still have it but it’s really worn out. I recently got a new one that remains a prized possession. In fact, the first time I ever went surfing, I commemorated it by wearing Mullin’s blue G-State tank top while hitting the surf!

Anyways, I became an even bigger fan when he was a part of the 1984 US Men’s Olympic Team that won the gold in Los Angeles. So that sort of carried over to the Warriors and Run-TMC.

Now I have an almost complete set of the second edition Skybox basketball cards. And one of my favorite cards in the pack is the one that features Run-TMC.

The Warriors’ high scoring trio lasted only two years – 1989-90 to 1990-91 – before Richmond was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Billy Owens. I thought it was a bummer of a move. One that Golden State coach Don Nelson would soon regret.

I thought that Owens was a talented player who could put the ball on the floor but the problems of Golden State were of the defensive nature. “Nellie-ball” as G-State’s offense was called reminded one of Paul Westhead’s Denver teams that eschewed defense. They believed that a high scoring offense was the best defense.

Speaking of Denver, the Nuggets’ trio of Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Dan Issel collectively averaged 76.7 points per game in 1982-83. On the other hand, Run-TMC mustered only 72.5 in 1990-91.

That season, the Warriors went 44–38, their best record in nine years. Nellie’s team finished second in the league in scoring (116.6) with Mullin finishing eighth in scoring (25.7), Richmond 10th (23.9), and Hardaway 11th (22.9). The Warriors made it to the playoffs where they bounced David Robinson’s San Antonio Spurs before getting waylaid by the finals bound Los Angeles Lakers (where they lost to eventual champion Chicago).

Will Hardaway and Richmond make it?

Let’s take a look at what they have accomplished.

Tim Hardaway came to the NBA known for his UTEP Two-Step – the killer crossover that twisted many an ankle. A 14th pick overall in 1989, Timmy was named to the All-Rookie Team. He played 13 NBA seasons with stops in the Bay area, Miami, Dallas, Denver, and Indiana. A five-time NBA All-Star, Hardaway scored 15,373 points. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team in 1997 (he was selected to the All-NBA Second Team three times as well) while playing for Miami where alongside Alonzo Mourning waged some furious battles with the New York Knicks.

While Hardaway didn’t win a NBA championship, he did bring home an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the US team that competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Mitch Richmond was drafted fifth overall in 1988 by the Warriors and he rewarded the club with a stellar rookie year that saw him named to the All-NBA Third Team and All-Rookie Team while winning Rookie of the Year honors. He was surprised he was traded to Sacramento, but he quickly blossomed into a star for the Kings.

Richmond scored 20,497 points and averaged more than 21 points per game for ten consecutive seasons in the NBA. At Kansas State University, he averaged 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and was UPI, The Sporting News and USBWA Second Team All-America in 1988.

For all the feel good vibes about the Bay Area connections, I wonder how Hardaway and Richmond – if inducted – will be remembered. After all, both players found greater success beyond the confines of Golden State (another Warriors teammate of theirs -- Sarunas Marciulionis -- is going to the Hall as a direct elect for international players).

Hardaway played seven seasons with Golden State and Richmond only spent three years there. In contrast, Chris Mullin donned the Warriors jersey for 13 years.

The Miami Heat retired Hardaway’s #10 while Richmond’s #23 was retired by Kansas State and his #2 was retired by the Sacramento Kings. Rooney Marciulionis is in for his contributions to the achievements of the former USSR squad and the Lithuanian national team.

But maybe it’s not so bad. After all, Run-TMC was together for the briefest of NBA moments. But what a memory it is.

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