Oakland, CA – If you remember the winning days of the Golden State Warriors, than names such as Al Attles, Nate Thurmond, and Rick Barry come to mind. These men are apart of an elite group that have their jerseys hung from the ceiling at Oracle Arena. Last night, that moment became real for Chris Mullin who had his jersey retired during halftime, despite the Warriors losing 97-93.
The retirement ceremony had been planned for some time to honor the Hall of Famer and his family. Mullin was accompanied by former teammates and coaches who were more than pleased to share in a moment that happens once in a lifetime. However, the event lacked some good planning skills that resulted in a unforgettable night.
Once Chris was introduced, he was welcomed with a standing ovation from a sellout crowd. Beaming with joy, he took the began to thank those who helped him and his career a remarkable success. After his speech, the applause grew louder, then the unthinkable happened. Warriors owner Joe Lacob grabbed the mic and the boos began.
“I was hoping they would stop so I could get the nice words out that we prepared for Chris, said Lacob. “They didn’t want to stop so, I just waited.”
The wait was a bit long, considering how much time was spent in heckling the owner. But just like an angel, Mullin walked back to center stage and wrapped his arm around Joe and asked the crowd to be patient with the future of the franchise. As the boos escalated he kept his winning smile and handed the mic back over to Lacob. That obviously didn’t help much but did allow him to speak without fear.
In the wake of the Monta Ellis trade many believed the fans reacted to harshly. The reality is majority of the fans are ticket holders and they have a right to express themselves with the disappointment and decisions made by management from years past through today. Golden State has not made the playoffs since 2007. The team has traded every All-Star they’ve had with each year getting worse and worse.
The Warriors record is 18-35, which is the third worse record in the Western Conference. First year head coach Mark Jackson promised a playoff return this season but has yet to figure out how to turn things around. So, when people say the fans ruined the celebration of Chris Mullin, no, they simply expressed their frustrations on the one person who they thought could change the franchise.
This was a night to remember, the retiring of #17 will be memorable for the fans as well as Chris. Not everyone who plays in the NBA will get the opportunity to have their jersey retired. This event is only for those who’ve had a stellar career, blazing a trail for others to follow. No boos or heckling can take away the amazing road to Mullin’s success.