With Chris Mullin's enshrinement opening the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony yesterday, the former Golden State Warrior star and two-time Olympic gold medalist is permanently a part of a collective national memory of basketball history. Warriors owner Joe Lacob wants locals to remember this by retiring Mullin's number "17" in the Oracle Arena rafters, but Mullin thinks there should be more names along with him.
The humble and gracious Mullin that we've heard from now for the last few weeks, exemplified by Mullin's choosing his college coach to open his enshrinement speech, wants the trifecta of Run TMC, names and numbers, to watch over the Warriors crowd night in night out up in the rafters with him. Hardly a dynasty, but probably the most defining moment of Warriors history, does Run TMC deserve to up there? I'm not so sure.
In their own right, Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and Tim Hardaway are hall of fame calibre players. Each of them have racked up impressive accolades along the course of their individual careers. But collectively, they haven't exactly done that much. Seriously.
Aren't monuments of oversized jerseys and banners up in the rafters reserved for players with a considerable tenure with a team? Or for teams with memorable achievements, such as winning their division, conference, and/or the NBA championship? So what are we remembering of Run TMC? And how would you define that banner: "The highest scoring trio of the 1989-1990 season?" or "The most exciting trio of 1989-1990." I'm not so sure this makes sense.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury believes that Run TMC deserves to be retired per Mullin's request given how much they have meant to fans and Warriors institutional memory. Nelson's run and gun style has defined the Warriors' mantra for the last two decades, good AND bad. Given the shortage of positive memories, retiring Run TMC makes common sense and cents.
But, if you're going to do that then you would probably have to retire the "We Believe" Warriors of 2006-2007, which probably had greater basketball achievements and was as much of a hoops cultural phenomenon given their swag and unconventional play. Fans and media have suggested that "We Believe" IS the Run TMC of this Warriors generation, another fan favorite dismantled way before its time.
With a dearth of memories to choose from, retiring Run TMC, in my opinion, could have a snowball effect and I could see the Warriors retiring just about anything and anyone that did anything remotely good for the Warriors. Adonal Foyle, maybe, for his humanitarian efforts? Or Jason Richardson, for being one of the few Warriors who actually wanted to be a Warrior?
Maybe the Warriors front office should have a discussion about what is "retirable." But for a team with little institutional memory that fans and the rest of the NBA fandom even knows of, perhaps Mullin's suggestion wouldn't be so bad. Or would it?