Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ego, idiocy mar Mullin jersey retirement in Oaktown

Had to check out Monday night's Chris Mullin Golden State Warriors jersey retirement ceremony in Oakland.

I've been watching the mercurial, soulful lefty since his pre-St. John's University days on jaunts through Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

And those experiences provided quite a few indelible memories.

Yet, nothing prepared me for the amazingly, shocking, rude, disrespectful behavior exhibited by a large portion of the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Allegedly, those folks were there, in part, to celebrate the classy and determined excellence nightly displayed by Mullin.

Instead, some morons used the occasion to boo Golden State majority owner Joe Lacob during the ceremony.

Eventually, Mullin and former W's great Rick Barry had to come onto the floor and attempt to calm the restless natives.

For a little perspective, back in the day, Mullin was playing in a tournament I was covering at New York's Madison Square Boys Club. His teammates were some of the best high-school hoopers had to offer. One was Easy Ed Pinckney, who went on to help engineer Villanova's 1985 national championship victory over highly-favored Georgetown and then an 11-year NBA career.

Pinckney, now a Chicago Bulls assistant coach, along with Freddy Brown (later of Georgetown University) and a solid defensive small forward named Clarence Moss all played for the public school champion squad Stevenson.

Mullin and Pinckney's squad was doing work, as usual, but throughout the game, Moss was engaged in conversation with some one in the stands. It didn't seem to be a big thing. During games in NYC (and many other locales at various venues, it's common place for people in the stands to talk trash.

It's not common place to see Moss run up in the stands, deliver a karate kick to the body of the trash-talker. Moss came right back on the court and tried to keep hooping until the referees stopped him.

It's still one of the funniest, most surprising things I've ever seen in life.

Yet, the Oracle Boo Squad attacking Lacob was even more shocking because it came out of nowhere. Did the crowd boo because the Warriors last week traded Monta Ellis? Did they boo Lacob because upon buying the team he proclaimed they'd make the playoffs - this season?

Did they boo because the Warriors have made just one playoff appearance in 18 seasons?

Did they boo because they are idiots and didn't care that they were dogging Mullin's night more so than going at Lacob?

The owner clearly is a bit egotistical and couldn't understand that he did his job by retiring the jersey. He should have just sat there.

The Warriors main representative should have been Al Attles, who has been with the organization for 50 years.

The organizers never should have allowed Lacob to take the floor, particularly not toward the end of the festivities.

Shoot, they'd have been better off having me pump up Mullin. I covered the kid at his first press conference with the W's. I've been with him off and on throughout his adult life. I knew his late pops and moms, one of the world's sweetest ladies.

I watched him hurt his knee in the first round in the 1991 upset of the San Antonio Spurs, miss the first game of the second round against the Los Angeles Lakers and then make something like his first 15 or 16 shots (nearly all jumpers) en route to a 41-point road performance.

Golden State, unfortunately, will look back on the retirement ceremony remembering the portion that bombed so hard, Barry, who is in the Hard-To-Get-Along-With Hall of Fame, felt moved to come to Lacob's aid.


  1. Great article & I fully agree. I believe that Joe Lacob is committed to turning the Warriors into a contender and I applaud him for returning the team's colors to Royal Blue & Yellow. I also applaud him for giving Mark Jackson his first coaching job. Mark has a great background in basketball, has played for solid coaches and been teammates with great players, and is a great example for players to learn from and listen to. I really do see what Joe Lacob is trying to do with the Warriors and I like it. But with all that said, I cannot understand why an owner would want to put himself in a position to hear it from the crowd just days after he approved trading the team's most popular player for an injured center, making the team weaker for the time being, and in effect giving up on fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Did he really think that the fans weren't gonna let him hear it?? I understand that there is a long term goal in mind in the Warriors organization, they did not want to stick with a backcourt of Curry & Ellis leading the team into the future, and making the playoffs would have cost them a conditional 1st round pick due to a previous trade. What I do not understand is why only days after upsetting a fanbase with the unpopular trade of Ellis, would you put yourself before the fans on center court with the microphone in your hand. Did he not think he would hear it from the crowd?? Didn't anyone think of the possible negatives and how it might taint Chris Mullin's jersey retirement?? One thing is certain: watching the video of the incident is pure entertainment and I can only imagine how it must have been to be in Oracle Arena and see it all take place firsthand. Even though I am a die hard Kings fan, I hope it all works out for Lacob & the Warriors. I would love to see both of Northern California's NBA teams become playoff teams for years to come. Both franchise's and fans of each all deserve it.

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