He was the subtle superstar, a basketball player who did what was needed by his team—whether the U.S. Olympic squad, the Golden State Warriors or the Sacramento Kings—rather than what would get him individual acclaim. He wasn’t always overlooked, but it seemed appropriate his was the middle initial in “Run TMC,” the Warriors high-scoring threesome of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, nicknamed after the rap group “Run DMC.” Richmond was selected for Olympic teams both in 1988 as an amateur, out of Kansas state, the last time NBA players were not eligible, and then again in 1996, as a pro, an indication of both his talent and his durability. He was the fifth overall pick in the ’88 draft by the Warriors and was voted rookie of the year. His teammates were in full agreement of the selection. “Mitch was so unique,” Mullin said, “the first practice he seemed like a five-year veteran. He just came in and commanded respect.” Yet, although he averaged 21 points and 3.5 assists in 976 NBA games, and was a six-time all-star, Richmond sometimes felt unappreciated. Until his play was validated by induction in 2014 in the Naismith memorial basketball hall of fame. “When you watch NBA TV,” he said at the time, “and they ask, who was the most underrated guard at the no. 2 spot?’ They bring up my name. No one gave me credit because I wasn’t on teams that played in the post-season.” The recognition may have been late but it arrived. “Man,” said Richmond when notified of the basketball hall, “they can’t call me underrated anymore.” Not at all. He’s a Hall of Famer.
Inducted into the BAY AREA SPORTS HALL OF FAME – 2016
Narrative by Art Spander