Steinmetz: VanDerveer, Mullin have pre-Hall history


Steinmetz: VanDerveer, Mullin have pre-Hall history

Aug. 11, 2011


Follow @MSteinmetzCSN
Matt Steinmetz

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Chris Mullin and Tara VanDerveer -- two basketball and Bay Area legends -- will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday. On the surface, the two of them wouldn't seem to have a whole lot in common.

RELATED: Wide praise for Mullin as H.O.F. comes calling
Mullin was an NBA player, and VanDerveer is a women's college basketball coach at Stanford. That's about as different as basketball gets, some might say.Yet Mullin and VanDerveer share the same view of the game. Hard as it might be to believe, they both might have helped each other get to where they are now -- on the brink of the game of basketball's highest honor.

Turns out, a long time ago, in the late 1980s, Mullin used to go to Stanford and work out with VanDerveer's Cardinal women's team. That's right. Mullin, who was a member of the Warriors at the time, used to go to Stanford -- along with long-time Golden State director of athletic development Mark Grabow -- and scrimmage against the women."I was actually more comfortable at Stanford than I was with the Warriors (early on)," Mullin said recently. "I felt like I fit in there better. Women's team or not."STEINMETZ: Chris Mullin's all-time list
The reason: Because they played the right way at Stanford, and at the time Mullin didn't really feel like the Warriors were doing that. So, VanDerveer gave something to Mullin, which was a reprieve from the downer that was the Warriors at the time. And Mullin gave something to VanDerveer: an up-close look at his work ethic and a technical side of the game in terms of preparation and approach."He played with players on our team," VanDerveer recalled on Thursday, at media availability. "The way it happened was that I called Mark Grabow -- one of the all-time best trainers -- and said: 'I'm interested in learning some new drills.' Mark said: 'I'll be over tomorrow with Chris Mullin.'""He would drop everything. He'd come over, and Chris would do the drills for me and then play with the team. He was awesome. I remember players were very excited he was in the gym playing with them. They were like 'Wow, we're playing with Chris Mullin.'"
And Mullin was more than happy to be at Stanford. It was after Mullin had gotten back from alcohol rehab in late 1987 and early 1988, and he came back to a Warriors team that wasn't winning and wasn't having any fun. Mullin just didn't feel like many of his teammates on that team loved the game as much as he did."It was like digging ditches with that team," Mullin said. "I was like 'Really? It's that bad?'"It was just the opposite at Stanford, and it's a time in his life where Mullin acknowledges he re-found his love of the game.
"I was getting back into shape and I was doubling up on sessions," Mullin said. "Actually, I just ran into (former Stanford star and current USF women's coach) Jennifer (Azzi) and she asked me if I remembered that and I said 'Yeah.' I didn't know this but she said I wouldn't shoot at all. I'd just pass all the time. I said that I didn't remember that part. I guess I was working on my ballhandling and passing, but that (not shooting) I can't remember."They were good to me. All of them. Tara, obviously. It's cool going in with her."

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win

In first game without Durant, Westbrook's monster night lifts OKC to win


PHILADELPHIA -- Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 rebounds and took over late to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Westbrook scored the decisive points on opening night for the Thunder in their first game since franchise star Kevin Durantleft in free agency and signed with the Golden State Warriors.

Joel Embiid scored 20 points in 22 minutes in his first game for the Sixers since they made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Embiid had sat out the last two seasons with foot injuries. He received a roaring ovation when he was introduced and fans went wild on every shot.

The 76ers had a tripleheader of image faux pas on opening night: The scheduled anthem singer says she was booted because she wanted to wear a "We Matter" jersey; a fan was kicked out for extending two middle fingers at Westbrook; and halftime singer Desiigner was booed off the court for a shirtless performance where he dropped his pants to his ankles.

Westbrook and Embiid swapped jumpers that tied the game 97-all. Westbrook sank two free throws with 35 seconds left for a 99-97 lead in front of a raucous crowd. Enes Kanter silenced them for good and sent them toward the exits with a putback layup after the Sixers missed a shot on the other end.

Yes, it was another loss for the Sixers, but one that came with a 7-foot-2 asterisk.

Embiid's performance largely stole the show from the opening-night shenanigans that otherwise tarnished the night.

Sixers fans who had been waiting to cheer for Embiid for more than two years went wild every time he touched the ball. A group of fans held a sign that read, "In Embiid We Trust."

The Sixers just might prove they made the right decision to trust in Embiid.

The crowd of nearly 20,000 fans erupted when the "7-foot-2 center from Kansas, Joooooel, Embiiiiid" was introduced during game introductions. They stood and gasped when Embiid attempted his first shot of the game - a missed 3-pointer.

He grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and it helped lead to an alley-oop to fellow newcomer Gerald Henderson. He had a nifty spin in the post and a bucket for a quick 10-2 lead.

The Sixers, yes, the 10-72 Sixers, at last had a dose of good news.

Coach Brett Brown said he would limit Embiid to four, 5-minute spurts and the center spent at least one game break in the locker room on an exercise bike to stay loose.

Embiid starred on a nationally televised performance and gave a teasing glimpse that he just may be the franchise cornerstone player that can help shift the franchise toward respectability.

Westbrook, now The Man in OKC, refused to cede the spotlight entirely to Embiid. He scored 12 points in the first quarter and 22 through three to keep the Thunder within striking distance entering the fourth.

He closed the game with the jumper and free throws and showed life without Durant might not be so bad for the Thunder.


Thunder: Coach Billy Donovan said the Thunder will win without Durant, just "do it in a different way." "It will be a constant process throughout the season to get everyone to understand." ... Donovan said Westbrook can't try and play as a one-man show or else "it's just going to wear him out."

76ers: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard rang the ceremonial opening bell. ... UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was at the game. ... Fans chanted "Trust The Process" when Embiid was at the free-throw line. The catchphrase became a rallying cry under former team president Sam Hinkie.


Philadelphia 76ers national anthem singer Sevyn Streeter says she was told by the team she could not perform because of her "We Matter" jersey. Streeter wrote on Twitter, "Was suppose to sing the anthem at (at)sixers & (at)okcthunder game but mins b4 (at)sixers said I couldn't because I was wearing a "We Matter" jersey.


The Sixers ejected a portly fan in an Allen Iverson jersey who directed both middle fingers toward Westbrook from his courtside seat. The fan raised his arms in triumph and high-fived fans as he was escorted out of the arena.


Rapper Desiigner was booed off the court for a halftime performance where he ripped off his shirt and left with his jeans down to his ankles and his boxers exposed.


No. 1 overall draft pick Ben Simmons says there is no timetable for his return to the Sixers from a broken bone in his right foot. He said he has not discussed the possibility of sitting out the season.

"I'll come back when I'm ready," Simmons said.


Thunder: Host Phoenix on Friday in their home opener.

76ers: Host Atlanta on Saturday. They open with three straight and five of their first six at home.