Posts Tagged ‘Chris Mullin’

Richmond, Marciulionis entering Hall together is a fitting outcome


VIDEO: Sarunas Marciulionis gives his Hall of Fame acceptance speech

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The so-called introduction miles in the air led to South Korea, then Oakland, then to Jim Petersen throwing up an excessive amount of food and drink, then Sacramento, then to a connection that reached Eastern Europe, and then, finally and forever, to New England last week.

Why Mitch Richmond and Sarunas Marciulionis were reunited here in late-summer 2014, after all the decades and all the vodka that had gone before them, was certain: their membership in the same Hall of Fame induction class in a wonderful time collision made better for Marciulionis by the enshrinement of former commissioner David Stern, the man who turned the NBA into a global brand. How they arrived here together was far less clear.

Richmond and Marciulionis could have, and maybe should have, been life-long adversaries. A shooting guard from South Florida, a JC in Missouri and a university in Kansas, a shooting guard one year older to the month from Lithuania and the national team of the Soviet Union. The first time either saw the other was when someone in the Soviet traveling party handed Marciulionis a magazine during a plane ride. He doesn’t remember who gave it to him or where the flight was headed, only that it was 1988 and Kansas State’s Richmond was on the cover.

“This big guy with the pretty smile,” Marciulionis said.

They were face to face the first time months later, on Sept. 28 in Seoul, the semifinals of the 1988 Olympics in the first meeting since the controversial outcome at the 1972 Munich Games. The Soviet Union won 82-76 as Marciulionis scored 19 points. And then, starting in fall 1989, they were Golden State teammates going for minutes at the same position.

Richmond had the advantage of one season of NBA experience under coach Don Nelson, and one big season at that, the run to Rookie of the Year at 22 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Plus, Marciulionis had bad habits to break in the transition to the best league in the world at a time when a player coming from Europe, and especially from behind the Iron Curtain, was a curiosity. But Marciulionis was also fearless when he arrived in Oakland, a physical player backing down from no one.

Those practices. There was no tension amid the international intrigue, no carryover from the Olympics — “Sarunas is too nice of a guy,” Chris Mullin would say in 2014, still close enough to each former teammate that both asked him to be their presenter at the Hall induction ceremony. “He’s such a sweet guy. Two different people, on the court and off the court. On the court, yes, maybe. Tunnel vision and total focus, and Mitch is like that too. But off the court, you couldn’t be mad at Sarunas. There’s no way.” And the Warriors were a tight group that loved to be in the gym anyway, with Mullin and Richmond on board and Tim Hardaway added via the 1989 draft. But Marciulionis and Richmond head-to-head was a sight.

“Guys would say, ‘Man, we thought you guys were fighting on the court,’ ” Richmond said. “I mean, we would go at it. It was just the competitiveness in both of us that we made each other better…. We pushed each other. We fought like we didn’t like each other in practice. But after that, you might see me and Sarunas going to lunch. You might see us hanging out somewhere. But when we were between those lines, man, we played like we hated each other.”

“Sarunas was the toughest guy I ever coached and Mitch was one of the most talented,” Nelson said. “Same size, same position. They just competed and both got better because of it.”

It went on like this for two seasons of ferocious battles one minute, mostly behind the scenes at practice, and friendship the next.

“I had so many things to change and improve because my fundamentals were so far behind NBA teaching, and I came over when I was 25,” Marciulionis said. “Some habits and some basics were missed because our basketball, especially the defensive end, I can’t say were unimportant, but I guess not really explained to me…. During those workouts, practices, they were schooling me all the time. I had to learn how to defend, how to keep the man close, running around those picks all the time — so many details I had to learn the hard way. I was frustrated many times, but that was very, very good training for me.”

The split, for the entire Run TMC era in Golden State, came when Richmond was traded to the Kings with Les Jepsen and a second-round pick for rookie Billy Owens at the start of 1991-92, a deal Nelson would later call one of his basketball regrets. Marciulionis played two more seasons with the Warriors, was traded to Seattle, spent one season there, and became available again. When Richmond heard, he said, he lobbied the Sacramento front office for a reunion.

That happened in 1995-96, but lasted just one season, before Marciulionis was traded again, this time to the Nuggets for what would become his final season. He returned to Lithuania, which gained its independence from the crumbling Soviet bloc in 1990, opened a basketball academy and became a businessman involved in real estate, a hotel and a sports bar among other projects.

Richmond estimated he talked to Marciulionis three or four times a year across the miles, as Richmond played until 2001-02, established a permanent residence near Los Angeles and last season joined the Kings front office that was headed by former Warriors executive Pete D’Alessandro and included Mullin as a top advisor. It helped that Marciulionis would come to winter in San Diego every year, making it easy to swing by Oakland.

“I think we’re pretty close,” Richmond said. “When we see each other, we sit down, laugh and talk and joke and talk about the stories of Sarunas Marciulionis when he used to invite us over to his house (in the Bay Area) and drink that Russian vodka. Ohhhhh, man. He had this thing, when they drink, him and his friends, they liked to box and do crazy things. Who can take a punch in the face and (stuff) like that. Oh, yeah. Oh, they were crazy. They’d be punching each other.

“He had this game where you get one punch. He’ll let you punch him first. You’ve got to punch him anywhere around here,” Richmond said, motioning to the top of his stomach, near the rib cage. “You’ve got to brace yourself. It’s got to be a quick jab. I remember we went over to the house and he was like, ‘Anybody want to do it?’

” ‘No. No. We do not.’

“(Teammate) Jim Petersen says, ‘I’ll do it.’ We’re sitting around and Jim Petersen hits him. Rooney was like, [growling sound] ‘Errrrrr.’ He just turned all red. ‘My turn. My turn.’

“Man, he hit Jim Petersen [high in the stomach.] I thought he threw up everything he ate for two years. Oh, my God. I told my wife, ‘All right, it’s time to go. Everybody, let’s go. It’s time to go.’ That’s how he was. He loved those type of games.”

Suddenly it was Friday night in Symphony Hall, Richmond at the podium with Mullin standing nearby as an official presenter and noting the opportunity to be enshrined with Marciulionis, then later Marciulionis getting his turn and likewise acknowledging the fortunate timing, also with Mullin on stage. All the years, all the countries and all the Jim Petersen regurgitation had led them here, to an unlikely place. It had led them back to being together, now forever.

‘Run TMC’ crew in rarefied HOF air

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: ‘Run TMC’ takes a closer look at one of Golden State’s magical eras

They were together just three seasons. It seems like they ganged up on opponents for longer, but, no, just three seasons of sending scoreboard operators to the injured list with finger and hand disorders, before a trade brought things to an abrupt end, followed by a lifetime of wondering what could have been if Golden State’s Run TMC era had remained intact.

There was always something forever about the Warriors of T(im Hardaway), M(itch Richmond) and C(hris Mullin) and Don Nelson the mad-scientist coach, encouraging, not merely allowing, Manute Bol to fling 3-pointers from about the back of his neck. Now there officially is.

The Hall of Fame is expected to reveal Monday that Richmond, along with Alonzo Mourning, will be part of the Class of 2014. This comes after the February announcement that favorite TMC sidekick, Sarunas Marciulionis, will also be enshrined this summer. He’ll join Mullin (a 2011 Hall of Famer) and Nelson (2012) in Springfield, Mass.

Three players and the coach from the Warriors of 1989-90 and 1990-91 will be in the Hall. It is the kind of rarified air usually reserved for the Lakers and Celtics, with a strong case to be made that the point guard Hardaway could be the fourth player to go with the shooting guard (Richmond), small forward (Mullin) and reserve swingman (Marciulionis). Even better for Golden State? This party will include former coach and current community ambassador Al Attles, as beloved within the organization as any person is with any franchise in the league. He’ll be there to receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor from the basketball museum short of enshrinement.

For all the historical significance, those Warriors who tried to lure opponents into track meets and cause trouble with freakish matchups — 6-foot-7 Tom Tolbert on 7-foot-1 David Robinson, anyone? –went just 37-45 and 44-38 and won one playoff series. The defense, or what passed for one, wasn’t going to allow any long postseason runs, a common theme for years to come in Oakland. But what has turned into a near-annual statement from the anonymous Hall voters suddenly puts the Dubs of the late-80s/early-90s into a unique stratosphere.

“It’s a hotbed of basketball,” Mullin said of the Bay Area. “It really is. It’s great for the fans because a lot of nights and a lot of years, they cheered us on unconditionally. I would say this, though. That wasn’t a bad culture after all. You hear about ‘New culture, new culture.’ That wasn’t too shabby. Mitch hopefully is in. I’m sure Tim’s going to get in through this process. That’s not a bad culture. I think that’s a very proud franchise through the years, from Wilt Chamberlain to Nate Thurmond to Al Attles, to Rick Barry, Tom Meschery. You talk about the last championship, it was Al Attles (as coach). Let’s not forget that. The guy’s still there. So it’s a rich, proud franchise. I think we should praise what’s going on now. But it wasn’t too shabby.”

Just Mullin saying hello to Joe Lacob.

Lacob bought the team in 2010 with declarations about a fresh start, comments Mullin understandably took personal since he had been the general manager who put together most of the Warriors of the time. Lacob was talking about the management team led by predecessor Chris Cohan and the annual disappointment in the standings. But Lacob also had frequent references to building a roster around toughness and defense while getting away from the run-and-gun crew from Mullin’s days as basketball operations boss. So point taken. There was never a shot at the history of the franchise and, in fact, it was Lacob who provided the long-overdue honor of retiring Mullin’s jersey No. 17.

But three players and the coach from the same team in the Hall of Fame is a rare sighting, even if Marciulionis is there for his international play with the Soviet Union and Lithuania. The part about the basketball hotbed is about the Bay Area as a whole, from the youth leagues to the pros, a history underlined in Springfield as well: enshrinement for Richmond, Marciulionis and former Philadelphia and San Francisco Warrior Guy Rodgers this year.

Oakland native Gary Payton (2013), Nelson, former Warrior Jamaal Wilkes and Berkeley native Don Barksdale (2012), and Mullin and Stanford women’s coach Tara VanDereveer (2011). And that doesn’t count Mullin as part of the collective Dream Team induction (2010) or ex-Warriors Ralph Sampson and Bernard King.

Moving forward, Hardaway will be high on the rankings for most deserving in the next election, along with Kevin Johnson, who played practically next door to Oakland at the University of California, and, if someone nominates him, ex-Warrior Chris Webber. Jason Kidd, an Oakland native who also played at Cal, will get his ceremony in 2018, barring unexpected developments.


VIDEO: Mitch Richmond reflects on his Golden State days

Pacers’ Hall of Fame Streak Continues

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HANG TIME WEST – Thanks to talent, the fluke of timing, and, most of all, to Jerry Colangelo, the Hall of Fame is becoming an annual Pacers’ reunion.

This is Year 3 — and technically No. 4, with a good chance at adding more after that — of a party that will continue two weeks from today when the late Roger Brown is inducted as part of the Class of 2013 in ceremonies in Springfield, Mass. Perhaps Springfield should be known as East Indianapolis.

The Pacers’ showcase started in 2010 when Larry Bird, an Indiana legend who did not play for the home-state team but became a coach and executive with the team, was inducted. That enshrinement was as a member of the 1992 Olympic squad, the Dream Team. Bird himself was inducted in 1998.

In 2011, Chris Mullin went to Springfield after a 16-year career that included three with the Pacers, the first two as a starter before a limited role on the 1999-2000 club that won the Eastern Conference title.

Then, in 2012, Reggie Miller was one of the headliners as Mel Daniels also went in via the ABA committee.

Daniels led to Brown this summer through the same ABA channel Colangelo, the chairman of the Hall, instituted in 2011 to give special attention to areas of the game he felt had become overlooked. And that same category could lead to election in the years ahead for two strong candidates from the Pacers’ ABA days, coach Bob Leonard and forward George McGinnis. Another former player, Freddie Lewis, could get some attention from that committee, while Donnie Walsh, the former head of basketball operations and current consultant, will remain on the ballot as a Contributor.

The organization’s roots in both leagues will be on full display on Sept. 8, when Miller and Daniels will be the presenters as Brown is inducted and Roger Brown Jr. is scheduled to accept on his father’s behalf.

“I’m very close to all of the old players,” Jeannie Brown, Roger’s former wife, said from Indianapolis. “We really stayed connected and always have. When Roger and I moved to this house, Mel helped us move because he had a truck. He helped us move in and the guys used to always come over here. We have a huge yard here and they’d be out there with bow and arrows shooting and practicing. We’ve stayed close. I talk to everybody a lot.”

http://www.nba.com/halloffame/2010/

Jordan, Magic Among 2012 Hall of Fame Presenters

HANG TIME WEST – The Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced a star-studded group of presenters for the induction ceremony next Friday night in Springfield, Mass., a list headed by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson that is powerful enough to overshadow most of the actual inductees.

Their role is strictly ceremonial, nothing more than standing on stage as the enshrinees speak. And some choices are assigned for a person or team without a personal connection to a current Hall of Famer, as the rules require. But some in the past have been interesting selections – Jordan requesting David Thompson despite not having any relationship, Karl Malone choosing Willis Reed against the same backdrop, both in nods to home-state heroes – and the presenters this time are noteworthy for the number of all-time greats.

The complete list of enshinees and their presenters:

All America Redheads — Teresa Edwards.

Lidia Alexeeva – Will not be present.

The late Don BarksdaleBob Cousy.

Mel DanielsWayne Embry and Artis Gilmore.

Phil Knight – Jordan and John Thompson.

Katrina McClain – Edwards, Julius Erving, and C. Vivian Stringer.

Hank NicholsHubie Brown.

Don NelsonChris Mullin, Bob Lanier and Satch Sanders.

Reggie MillerCheryl Miller, Charles Barkley and Johnson.

Ralph SampsonKareem Abdul-Jabbar, Erving, and Barkley.

Chet WalkerBilly Cunningham, Earl Monroe, Adrian Dantley and Isiah Thomas.

Jamaal Wilkes – Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Rick Barry and Bill Walton.

In all, officials are expecting approximately 50 Hall of Famers to attend, either as participants or to watch and join in private functions.

Simply Put: Fans Ruin Mullin’s Moment





Wait, remind me again: Was this Chris Mullin Night, or Chris Cohan Night?

A packed house picked the wrong time to be unruly when a ceremony designed to honor one of the all-time Warriors greats turned into an Oakland Raiders game. The way the Warriors fans ruined it for Mullin was shameful and disrespectful. The way they booed the wrong owner, someone who’s willing to move the franchise beyond the decade-long debacle overseen by the old owner, Cohan, was misguided.

Here’s what happened: Mullin’s jersey was retired Monday night in a long-anticipated ceremony. Mullin was and is one of the great inspirations in the game, someone who overcame alcoholism early in his career to become a truly great shooter, the face of the Warriors and eventually, a Hall of Famer. He had his family, and his brother’s family, along with a number of former teammates and coaches along for the moment. And quite understandably, the applause for Mullin was thick and warm.

And then, Joe Lacob, the new owner of the Warriors, decided to take the mic and speak. For this, he was booed. Heavily. Loudly. And constantly. It was tough to watch, but even more, it left you wondering: Why?

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Chris Mullin’s Big, and Telling, Night




* Photos: Mullin’s career | Warriors.com’s coverage of Mullin’s jersey retirement

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS WEST – The Warriors will retire uniform No. 17 tonight at halftime at Oracle Arena to honor Chris Mullin, a tribute both richly deserved and years overdue. That much is obvious.

Look at the list of guests who will be on the court with him, though. Not so obvious. Many family members, sure. The Warriors who previously had their numbers retired, or someone on their behalf: Al Attles, Rick Barry, Tom Meschery, Nate Thurmond and Barbara Lewis representing her brother Wilt Chamberlain. Several former teammates, including Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Sarunas Marciulionis and Rod Higgins. All predictable party guests.

But then there is Tom Abdenour, the former Golden State trainer.

And Mark Grabow, the former director of athletic development.

And Eric Housen, the former equipment manager and current director of team services.

On his big night, the guest list says more about Mullin than any speech. He was the small forward who couldn’t take anyone off the dribble yet played in five All-Star games, the New York City product without the mega-street hype who won two Olympic gold medals and the human being who overcame alcoholism early in his career to become a Hall of Famer all because he was the ultimate gym rat who would not be outworked. The greatness of Mullin is that he refused to give up, and now he will make sure others who were there with him late at night, away from the spotlight, will get credit.

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the organization,” Mullin said. “I spent 13 years playing and growing as a player and a person, and it’s a place I lived. I developed a really unique relationship with the fan base there. It’s another opportunity for me to say ‘Thank you’ to all of my teammates, administrators and front-office people that stuck with me and helped me carve out a nice career in the NBA.”

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Mullin Wore Jeremy Lin’s Number

ORLANDOJeremy Lin grew up in the Bay Area, in Palo Alto. Chris Mullin played most of his Hall of Fame career in the Bay Area, in Oakland. Lin wears No. 17 with the Knicks. Mullin wore No. 17 with the Warriors.

But, Lin said, any connection is strictly coincidental. While he may have been a young Warriors fan just as Mullin was finishing the first of two playing stints with Golden State, and 17 is an unusual number to choose, it is not a Mully tribute.

“I didn’t even think of that,” Lin said. “But he’s a great player. Trust me, I’m a fan of his.”

Lin prefers No. 7. He wore it last season while playing for his hometown team. When he was sent to the National Basketball Development League, he picked No. 17. When he signed with the Rockets in December, Kyle Lowry had 7, so Lin went with 17. Same thing in New York. Carmelo Anthony wore 7, and Lin took 17 again.

“Seven was my number last year, and it’s one of God’s numbers that he uses throughout the Bible,” Lin said. “And I chose 17 because the 1 was kind of to represent me and the 7 was to represent God. When I went to the D-League, I had 17, and so everywhere I go, He would be right there next to me, and so that’s why I stuck with 17.”

Just as Mullin is scheduled to have his 17 – the other 17 – retired by the Warriors on March 19.

“Luckily they’re retiring my jersey,” Mullin said, “because if he keeps this up, his jersey will be retired throughout the world.”

 

They’re Not Here to Screw Around

OAKLAND – The latest was announcing Tuesday they had purchased control of basketball operations of the NBA Development League team in Bismarck, N.D., which came after they spent $2 million during the draft to acquire the second-round pick that became Jeremy Tyler, which came after foiled attempts to spend $3 million to get an additional first-rounder, which came after all the spending of the previous months. Paying David Lee some $80 million to come, paying Don Nelson another $6 million to stay away, giving up an unknown ownership share to get Jerry West to join the front office, and – oh, yeah – heading the group that paid a league-record $450 million to get the Warriors in the first place.

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber promised a serious financial commitment upon taking control last November, and they have delivered. In a time of economic hardship for many around them, the Warriors have signed huge contracts, fired a high-paid coach with a year left on his contract, handed over a portion of the team to land West, and made a bold strike in the draft. All in less than a year, with the understanding that Lacob and Guber were far enough along in buying the franchise last summer that they probably could have scuttled the Lee sign-and-trade that officially went down on the watch of predecessor Chris Cohan.

Golden State was in such buyer’s mode Thursday that the $2 million sent to the Bobcats for Tyler as the No. 39 pick was actually the fallback. The Warriors, Lacob said, had tried to get another pick in the second half of the first round, likely at the going-rate cost of $3 million, which would have meant a second guaranteed contract after drafting Klay Thompson at 11. Nothing materialized, Lacob told NBA.com, because potential trade partners wanted players in return, not money.

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Rodman Shouldn’t Be Surprised

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Dennis Rodman claims that his inclusion in the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 was a “big surprise.”

It shouldn’t be.

Rodman’s entry to the hallowed hall should not surprise anyone, including the colorful former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time NBA champ and rebounding machine.

“It’s unreal,” Rodman said earlier today in Houston, where the announcement was made. “I looked at the way I am, and I thought I wouldn’t get in.”

The travesty would have been the voters keeping Rodman out for all of the same reasons.

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Blogtable: Ray Allen — NBA’s best shooter?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Ray Allen: Best pure shooter the NBA has ever seen? If not, who’s your favorite?

David Aldridge: I never thought I’d say anyone was a better pure shooter than Dale Ellis — when Dale was on, the net didn’t move — but Ray is. Reggie was a great, great shooter but I think Ray has him beat, too. Everyone has their favorite spots on the court but it seems like Ray is more comfortable in more places than anyone I’ve seen (and I didn’t see the likes of Jerry West or Sam Jones in person).

Steve Aschburner: I’m always leery of superlatives in a public forum, because the moment you proclaim anyone or anything to be the “-est” in some category, someone or something pops up whom you neglected. Also, our culture’s collective memory goes back approximately 37 minutes, so it’s easy to forget or underrate someone from way back when. I can’t say with certainty that there’s anyone who was a better pure shooter than Allen, but I can produce a list of fellows who’d be in the discussion. Such as: Drazen Petrovic, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojakovic, Glen Rice, George Gervin, Ricky Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin and of course Reggie Miller. Then there’s my favorite, especially as the stakes went up: Larry Bird.

Fran Blinebury: Jerry West, Rick Barry, Pete Maravich, Bob McAdoo, Freddie Brown, Dale Ellis, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen are one helluva hallelujah chorus when it comes to making the nets sing.  But front man will always be Larry Bird — for the form, the clutch makes, for the cold-blooded confidence.  At the 1988 All-Star Weekend in Chicago, he walks into the locker room prior to the 3-Point Shoot-out and asks: “Who’s going to finish second?”  ‘Nuff said.

Art Garcia: Since I can’t include Jimmy Chitwood — the question does specify NBA — I’ll go through some of my favorite marksmen over my years watching the grand game. In no particular order other than rough chronology, I’d throw these guys into my list of faves: Larry Bird, Dale Ellis, Mark Price, Steve Kerr, Allan Houston, Glen Rice, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic. But above all, I’m going with Ray Allen. The release, the timing, the fundamentals, the temperament. All pure.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I’m not sure he’s even the best in the game now, never mind ever. Part of the debate is defining “pure shooter.” Does that mean strictly a catch-and-shoot guy? Dirk Nowitzki is a special talent, but with a repertoire that spans from the dangerous range of a spot-up shooter to fall-aways. Steve Nash is historically good as a perimeter threat, but never will never be among the scoring greats because so much of his focus has been getting the ball to other people. Allen definitely has the pure-shooter element, though, with the lightning release and feathery, arcing shot. He’s definitely very high in the discussion, along with Reggie Miller and others. I’m just not sure he’s ahead of Larry Bird.

Shaun Powell: Strictly from a visual standpoint, Allen’s form is so perfect, it should be a logo. The levitation, the soft yet secure grip, the fingertip release and follow through, so velvet. Best pure shooter? Best I ever saw. I notice you didn’t say best all-around shooter, though. While Ray could probably knock a tangerine through a loop earring, give me Steve Nash, whose career numbers are 90 percent from the line and 43 from 3-point, all the more impressive because of the added burden of ball-handling. And his hair often obstructing the view.

John Schuhmann: When I was covering the Heat-Celtics series last April, I showed up a few hours early for one of the games at American Airlines Arena. When I got there, I walked out to the court and encountered the Heat dancers warming up to my right and Ray Allen shooting to my left. And when it came to deciding which of the two to sit down and watch, the former NBA.com Dance Team Bracket champions were no match for the greatest shooter ever. His form is perfect, he’s shooting better than ever, and he’s been ridiculously clutch since arriving in Boston.

Sekou Smith: I’d love to hand Ray the crown since I’ve watched his entire (future) Hall of Fame career play out. But someone I know and trust, someone who has seen roughly 40 more years of basketball than I have so far in my life, warned me against calling anyone the “best ever” without careful examination. It’s easy to hand Allen the title right now because all of the other contenders can’t make a live impression upon us, since they’re no longer playing in the league. Allen is no doubt the best pure shooter of his era and certainly in the conversation for the best pure shooter the league has ever seen. And there is no doubt that he will finish his career as the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history. But I think this is a question that requires more than just a casual conversation. We’d need to slice and dice this topic in so many different ways (best from distance, best from the mid-range, best off the dribble, on the run, etc.) before we could come close a conclusion. There have been too many great pure shooters to come through the NBA for me to hand the title to Ray Allen, or anyone else, right now. As far as my favorite, I’ve always felt like Larry Bird’s stroke was sweeter than anything I’ve seen.