Steinmetz: Mullin's speech heartfelt and concise

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Steinmetz: Mullin's speech heartfelt and concise

Aug. 12, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- If anyone knows how to practice, prepare and execute a game plan, it's Chris Mullin. And that's exactly how he approached his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday night.Mullin, who played 13 of his 16 NBA seasons with the Warriors, said before the induction that he would keep his speech concise and simple, and that his goal was to give it without getting too emotional. You don't make it into the Hall of Fame without setting goals and achieving them -- and that's exactly what Mullin did during his near six-minute speech.After Mullin thanked his family -- an older sister and three brothers -- and dedicated his honor to his late mother and father, he gave a special mention to his two biggest fans: "The nuns." One of them, Sister Kathryn, turns 90 on Saturday.Mullin was the first of 10 inductees at Symphony Hall, and he took those in attendance on a brief and heartfelt replay of his basketball career. Mullin thanked two of his early coaches -- Jack Alesi and Lou Piccola -- whom he said taught him to play the right way and give him the confidence to "go anywhere in the city and play against anybody at any time."Just like he was as a player, Mullin was steady, straightforward and passionate with his speech. But he made it clear that his college coach, Lou Carnesecca, has been one of the most important people in his life. Mulllin first met Carnesecca at a basketball camp when Mulliin was 12, and it was Carnesecca who presented Mullin on Friday."What I cherish most is our relationship the past 36 years," Mullin said.When Mullin got around to his professional career, the Bay Area took center stage. Mullin made mention of the "wonderful" Al Attles, Warriors legend and ambassador. And he talked of his early years in Golden State and the challenges he faced overcoming alcoholism. Mullin made a point to say early in his speech that he's a New Yorker at heart. "Brooklyn is definitely in the house tonight," he said.But there is no doubt Mullin has a special place in his heart for the Bay, and the Warriors fans who supported him during his difficult time. Mullin still talks about the game he returned after missing more than a month while in rehab and the ovation he got from 15-plus-thousand that night in Oakland."But by the grace of God, I started living one day at a time and it strengthened me personally, professionally, physically and spiritually," Mullin said. "I'm forever grateful to the Bay Area, and today I call it home."Mullin thanked his closest Warriors teammates -- Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway and Rod Higgins. And, yes, Mullin even gave a shout-out to former Warriors coach Don Nelson, whom he had a falling out with at the end of his tenure as Warriors general manager only a few years ago."Who else," Mullin said, "would encourage Manute Bol to shoot 3-point shots. Those were my favorite pro years."Mullin played three seasons near the end of his career for the Indiana Pacers, and it was there he was able to play for "his idol" Larry Bird, who was the head coach and alongside Mark Jackson, who he has known since he was a little kid.At the end, it was time for Mulliin to talk about his family -- his wife, Liz, his three sons and a daughter. And if there was a moment in which Mullin's pre-game strategy seemed in peril, it was then. His voice shook for a moment or two while he delivered what will likely be his signature line, but it was almost imperceptible. Mullin always has been great at camouflaging his weaknesses."You're my Dream Team," Mullin said of them, a reference to the 1992 Olympic Team that is universally acknowledged as the greatest team ever assembled.He took care of the formalities of thanking the Hall of Fame for the honor and NBA commissioner David Stern for allowing him to play in "the greatest league in the world."And with that, Mullin turned to Carnesecca, who was flanking him, and gave him a warm embrace. Mullin then extended his arm to Carnesecca and escorted him down the front steps of the stage. It was Chris Mullin helping Lou Carnesecca, which was fitting.Because it was Carnesecca -- and all the people Mullin mentioned during his speech -- who had helped him become a Hall of Famer.

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Steve Kerr did not coach in Game 3 or Game 4 against the Blazers and is out indefinitely.

On Thursday, Warriors GM Bob Myers spoke with Jim Rome about Kerr's situation.

“What he’s going through right now is not a product of stress, it’s not a product of coaching, it’s more a physical issue that will be solved," Myers started. "When it will be solved, no one can say. But it is solvable, it’s fixable and like I said, he’s going to coach, but right now he just can’t.

"There’s some things that need to be corrected. But I think he’ll get back. I’m very very confident he will be back coaching, I just can’t say when.”

Kerr was not at practice on Wednesday and is consulting with specialists at Stanford this week.

Kerr is finishing up Year 3 of the five-year deal he signed back in May 2014.

"I think this guy is going to coach for a long time, because he thoroughly enjoys it," Myers said. "He really loves the game, and he is a great teacher. And you’ve had him on, I’m sure you’ve met him and talked to him. It’s one thing to know the game, but he has the ability to communicate it and our players clearly respond.

"So I can see that’s why a question you’d ask I totally get it and other people have asked but no I think he’s going to be in this game for a long time, we just have to get him back healthy now.”

The Warriors' next practice and media availability is on Friday.

The next series against the Jazz or Clippers will start on either Sunday or Tuesday.

From lowlight shows to highlight shows: Warriors saved JaVale's career

From lowlight shows to highlight shows: Warriors saved JaVale's career

OAKLAND -- The unlikeliest star of this NBA postseason could not and should not be blamed if he wakes up each morning blowing kisses toward his suddenly charmed life.

JaVale McGee has, in the span of seven months, been transported from the bottom of league’s recycling bin to the top of its penthouse. He’s in a great place, literally and figuratively. He’s doing spectacular things on a wonderful team that enjoys his presence and knows how to activate his skills.

Formerly the unwitting class clown of the NBA, a man who drew eye rolls on sight, McGee, all 7 feet of him, is a bona fide April star.

“Oh, y’all on the JaVale bandwagon now, huh?” teammate Kevin Durant cracked Wednesday, grinning broadly while facing Bay Area media.

McGee, 29, has been in the league for nine seasons, and this is the first time he has been in the driver’s seat of a bandwagon. He was the breakout performer as the Warriors blasted through the first round of the playoffs by laying a four-game sweep on the Trail Blazers McGee played 49 minutes, scoring 39 points on 78.3-percent shooting, with 17 rebounds and nine blocks.

The Warriors outscored Portland by 48 points during McGee’s limited time on the floor. His offensive and defense numbers are off-the-charts stellar. So thrilled is he to be a part of this postseason that he’s almost giddy to get any playing time at all.

“I’m happy with the minutes I’m getting,” McGee said. “I’m as efficient as I can be and we’re winning. So I can’t be the guy that says ‘Play me more minutes,’ when what you’re doing with me is working on my behalf and the team’s behalf. So I don’t have any problems with as many minutes I’m getting as long as we win.”

This is a man with perspective. McGee concedes that as the days ticked by last July and August and into early September without a contract offer, he wondered if he still had a career. He had played with four teams, most recently Dallas in 2015-16, when he battled injuries.

“I really did think that maybe that was it, that basketball was done for me,” McGee recently told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I had to start thinking about what else I wanted to do. But I didn’t have a plan.”

He didn’t need one, because the Warriors came calling and he signed with them on Sept. 16. He was a last-minute training-camp invitee with a non-guaranteed contract -- and the baggage that comes with being persistently ridiculed on national TV. Most notably, McGee was the butt of Shaquille O’Neal’s derision on ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool,” a video series featuring lowlights of gaffes made by players.

After snagging the last open spot on the roster, McGee slowly began making himself useful. Midway through the season, he had become a fan favorite at Oracle Arena, where crowds begin applauding and cheering the instant he rises from the bench and walks to the scorer’s table to enter a game.

He’s a master at going up and grabbing lobs and throwing the ball through the rim. He’s an imposing shot-blocker. His paint presence on offense automatically compromises defenses, giving deep-shooting teammates such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and Durant additional space with which to operate.

Being in the right place, at the right time, with teammates that play to his gifts, has done more than revive McGee’s career. It has taken him off lowlight shows and made him a staple of highlight shows. He won’t have to wait long at all this summer before contract offers are waved in front of his face.

“When you’re playing with Draymond (Green) and Steph and Klay and Andre (Iguodala), this whole team, it makes everybody better,” Durant explained. “From the top guy to the bottom guy, everybody gets better from just playing with a smart group of players and playing with such great talent. Everybody plays to their strength here.”

Nobody does so more than McGee, whose greatest strength may be his effort. It’s his sheer hustle that most endears him to teammates and coaches and fans. His max-effort approach generally results in making a high impact and maintaining over no more than 12 to 18 minutes per game.

“Most 7-footers, when it comes to pick-and-roll action, we’re telling them: ‘Hey, kind of be close to the screen, but it’s OK if you’re down the floor,’” Brown said. “But we’re telling him in pick-and-roll situations . . . be up the floor, be up the floor.

“So he’s up the floor, then he’s chasing the ball to the rim, blocking it, trying to get a rebound. Then sometimes, he’s closing out, contesting a shot. And then we’re having him set the screen and, ‘Hey, every time you set a screen, you roll. If you don’t get it, come back out, set a screen and roll again.’

“So he expends a lot of energy with how hard he plays. We feel he’s a five- to six-minute type guy. Then you sit him down.”

McGee plays as if every minute matters, as if the game might be taken away. As if it’s the last time he’ll play it. Perhaps because, for a few weeks, he thought it might be.