The Good Word is Talia Bargil's weekly Q&A featuring pro basketball's greatest and most interesting legends.
Q: What’s your take on the current state of the NBA?
A: I think when the lockout started, my state of mind was bleak – I didn’t know what was going to happen. I went through the 1998 lockout, and my take on it now is that hopefully we can get our players on the right schedule for next year. You don’t want guys getting injuries playing three games back to back.
When the lockout was going on, fans were upset there was no basketball. Now that you have basketball every night, people are enjoying turning on the TV and watching games. I’m excited about seeing a game every night…sometimes two, three and four.
Q: You had 14 successful NBA seasons. What was your key to longevity in the NBA, mentally and physically?
A: You have to make sure your legs are strong to take the beating, always have to be strengthening your legs. In the off-season, doing things like yoga and stretching is helpful. One thing that saved me was stretching my limbs all the time and getting proper treatment. Each summer I expanded that regimen. It’s different for today’s players because the game is not as physical as when I played. A guy like Kobe does not have the real wear and tear on his body that we had –he can probably play 20 years.
I always had that mental edge because going from Golden State to Sacramento, where we were not winning, and going to a young team that didn’t have much success, I had to be very focused. I always tried to play a game within the game. On many nights, I knew we wouldn’t come out with a win, so I tried not to look at the score and play every position hard, so I could keep my mental state right. I took my frustrations out on the opponent we were going up against.
Q: What’s going on with the “Run TMC” trio these days?
A: We still stay in contact. I think we are playing together in a celebrity game or something like that during All-Star Weekend, against Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson and some of the other Magic guys from those days. Nothing is definite yet about that though.
We are all good friends. I talked to both Tim and Mully a few days ago. When I am down in Miami, I always see Tim. And Mully, who lives in Oakland, is right down the street from me in L.A., so we see each other all the time.
Q: You were the 1989 Rookie of the Year. Who’s your favorite for this season?
A: To be honest, I don’t know too much about the candidates right now. So a truly early call for me is the rook Norris Cole, who has been playing well for Miami. He might be in the running as far as an early candidate.
Q: Your #2 jersey was retired by the Sacramento Kings, your home for seven years. You won a championship with the Lakers, and you worked as a scout for the Golden State Warriors, where you started your playing career. Where in California is home to you?
A: Right now I live in Los Angeles, but my heart is always with the Warriors, the first team to give me an opportunity. That was one of my favorite teams to play with and my favorite group of guys to play with…guys like Tim, Mully, Ralph Sampson, Jim Peterson, Manute Bol, Vincent Askew, Mario Elie. It was my first sniff of the NBA.
Sacramento grew on me. The fans embraced me from day one; it was just a difficult place to be at the time. But I love the people there, and they love their basketball. They came out every night when we were a bad team to watch, so a little piece of my heart is always with them.
And the Lakers also gave me a good opportunity…playing with Robert Horry (who’s a good friend), Shaq, Kobe, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher. It was a pleasure to go down my last year with an NBA Championship.
Q: What else is going on in your life these days?
A: Well, I was just at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the second year, where retailers come to show new products. I was there showing off my product line that we are coming out with, MR2, which is a series of bluetooth wireless headphones and other electronic products. Hopefully, we will launch in Los Angeles this year.
I actually got involved with this project because I met a guy from Beijing named Richard Chiang through a mutual friend. We started talking about technology and electronics, and knowing Dr. Dre has had so much success with his headphones, Richard and I decided to partner up. I flew to China, and we came up with a prototype and some designs. We have a bunch of different designs, like Rock Sleek, Rock Steady, Rock Hybrid, Rock Sports. You know, my nickname was Rock in the NBA, so it just worked. I feel really good about it.
Between this company and my kids, I am keeping busy.
ABOUT MITCH RICHMOND
An NBA Champion, six-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medallist, guard Mitch Richmond is a 14-year NBA veteran. Selected by the Golden State Warriors fifth overall in the 1988 NBA Draft, he played three years with the squad, where he teamed with Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway to form “Run TMC,” a high-scoring and fan favorite trio. He went on to spend seven seasons with Sacramento, three with Washington and one with Los Angeles, where he won an NBA Championship. Richmond earned a number of honors throughout his career, including Rookie of the Year and All-Star MVP. A graduate of Kansas Sate University, and a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., he is one of only four players to average at least 21 points in each of their first 10 NBA seasons. Follow Richmond on Twitter @mitchrichmond23.