Jimmer Fredette? My pennies are on Mullie. Chris Mullin, 50, the latest addition to Vivek Ranadive's basketball operations staff, still looks like could drop 50 on an NBA opponent on any given night. Buzz cut. Trim physique. A fitness fanatic, to this day. While chatting with Vivek Ranadive's new consigliere after Tuesday's formal press conference, it was hard to believe that it has been 21 years since a small group of us journalists spent the summer of 1992 touring the world with the Warriors small forward and other members of the original Dream Team. On a team that included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley, Mullin was one of the late Chuck Daly's favorite players, partly because he was such a skilled, seamless addition, with such was an ease to his game. He was terrific at moving without the ball - a lost art in today's game - and he entered the Hall of Fame as one of the NBA's all-time great shooters.
During a pregame conversation several years ago when Bird and Mullin were teammates with the Indiana Pacers, we chatted abouy the best shooters of their generation. To the best of my recollection, their list included Bird, Mullin, Reggie Miller and the late Drazen Petrovic. On Tuesday, Mullie added another entry: Mark Price, the superb Cleveland Cavaliers point guard whose career was hampered by injuries.
Mullin and Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, who worked together previously with the Golden State Warriors, have been friends since 1988, when D'Alessandro worked for Mullin's agent Bill Pollak. They also are New York natives who attended St. John's - years apart - and maintain a strong bond with the legendary Lou Carnesecca. As D'Alessandro said Tuesday, beaming, "Chris is my guy."
Ranadive, whose face was bruised and discolored from a weekend bicycle accident, pulled out his cell phone after the press conference and showed photos of his other injuries, including patches of open wounds on his shoulder. Fortunately, he said, he was wearing a helmet. "And there was a really nice couple that pulled over and helped me," said the Kings majority owner, adding that he didn't go to the hospital, but was checked out by a physician later in the day at his home.