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.

NBA: Steph Curry claims most popular jersey

NBA: Steph Curry claims most popular jersey

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors remain in the top spots on the NBA’s Most Popular Jersey and Team Merchandise lists, respectively, the NBA announced on Tuesday morning. 

Results are based on NBAStore.com sales from October 2016 through December 2016.

Rounding out the top five are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (No. 2), the Warriors’ Kevin Durant (No. 3), the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (No. 4) and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (No. 5).

The Warriors hold on as the top-selling team, followed by the Cavaliers at No. 2, the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3, the Chicago Bulls at No. 4 and the New York Knicks at No. 5.
 
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys                                   
1.    Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2.    LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3.    Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
4.    Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
5.    Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
6.    Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls
7.    Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
8.    Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
9.    Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
10.    Derrick Rose, New York Knicks
11.    Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
12.    James Harden, Houston Rockets
13.    Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
14.    Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
15.    Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise
1.    Golden State Warriors
2.    Cleveland Cavaliers
3.    Los Angeles Lakers
4.    Chicago Bulls
5.    New York Knicks
6.    San Antonio Spurs
7.    Oklahoma City Thunder
8.    Boston Celtics
9.    Philadelphia 76ers
10.    Toronto Raptors

NBA media services

Jazz finally explain how a team and city should co-exist, but rarely do

Jazz finally explain how a team and city should co-exist, but rarely do

Despite the planetary systems of evidence to the contrary, sometimes a sports owner understands the duties and responsibilities of the job and foolishly (read: admirably) acts in accordance with them.
 
In other words, there are more than a hundred owners across North America looking at Gail Miller and wondering if she is (a) nuts, (b) dangerous, (c) evil, or (d) all the above, with oak leaf clusters.
 
Gail Miller owns the Utah Jazz, having taken the basketball team over upon the death of her husband Larry in 2009, and will do so until she turns it over to a legacy trust of family members who will be required by contract to reinvest any and all profits generated by the NBA franchise back into the care and upkeep of the team (h/t Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune).
 
That is, as opposed to turning the profits into a bank for the family, or a way to get rich before selling the franchise to someone who moves it to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland or Zagreb.
 
In other words, she has set up a system by which the team will almost surely stay in Salt Lake City for decades to come, as opposed to playing arena blackmail, city blackmail or other kinds of popular ownerly games. No whining, no sniveling, no milking the citizens without their consent – why, by modern ownership standards, this is a scandal.
 
All because of an antiquated notion she clings to despite all rationality – the right thing to do.
 
Compare and contrast the events in our own local burgs, and shake your head in admiration.
 
In fairness, there are tax advantages for her and her family in doing this, and the bar for decency is so low that getting tax breaks for not doing something despicable seems like an entirely equitable deal.
 
Nevertheless, her decision to keep the team (a) in the family and (b) in the city where they reside is such a stunning development that it took more than a year of fevered negotiations with the NBA to make sure that what she chose to do would meet with the league’s approval.
 
“We worked with the NBA for probably more than 12 months trying to put together a package that satisfied the NBA's needs for financial covenants, eventual opportunities for participation in management and the governance,” team president Dennis Haslam said. “It took a long time, but we got there.”
 
Larry and Gail Miller bought the Jazz for  $22 million 30 years ago, which are currently valued at a hair beneath $900 million. In other words, the family has done reasonably well by the city, and the city by the family. And the annual profits are more than sufficient to keep everyone living in spectacular comfort.

But what she has done is introduce a foreign concept to modern wealth. Enough money for everyone.

“The Jazz are not our family's team,” son Steve Miller kind of fibbed, because it remains the family’s team. “They are a community asset. They are the Utah Jazz.”
 
Even allowing for the discordant nickname that has endured for those 30 years, again despite all logic, the Jazz have finally explained what the relationship between a team and its town ought to be, and almost never is. Owners long ago decided that their teams were theirs and only theirs, and the fans to whom they pay lip service in exchange for all the money their fans pay them have come to know that love unrequited is just a scam with free T-shirts.
 
The people of St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and whoever is next in the discard bin have discovered that loving a team is typically an act of misplaced faith.
 
But Salt Lake City got the right owner, one who knows what the true debt really is, and how best to repay it. Gail Miller is not a hero, but she is someone who gets how sports is supposed to work, which is frankly a much rarer thing than mere heroism.
 
If she drinks, she’s earned one – even if all she did was momentarily shame her financial compatriots by showing the kind of loyalty that usually ends up only going the other way.