Sports

Mullin Enshrined in Hoops Hall of Fame

Mullin
From 1981 to 1985, Chris Mullin was the talk of the town, leading the St. John’s University basketball team to a Final Four appearance in 1985.

After a long overdue 10-year wait, Flatbush’s own Chris Mullin was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Aug. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
The announcement was made back in April that Mullin would join Dennis Rodman, Herb Magee, Arvydas Sabonis, Tex Winter, Tara VanDerveer, Tom Sanders, Artis Gilmore, Reece Tatum and Teresa Edwards as the Class of 2011.
Known as one of the most prolific outside shooters of his era, Mullin enters the Hall with an impressive professional resume, despite playing in the shadow of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone. However, it was the time he spent playing ball on streets of Brooklyn and N.Y.C. that prepared him for his career.
“It’s an ultimate honor, and I didn’t expect it,” said Mullin, 48, of his induction. “It’s a fraternity with all these players that I idolized and tried to emulate. That part is overwhelming.”
But from a young age, he paved a path for himself to become a legend in the Diocese of Brooklyn. His name began to spread while playing CYO basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas parish, Flatlands. Coach Lou Carnesecca took notice.
“We go way back,” said Carnesecca, 91. “I knew right away that he was something special. He exemplifies the CYO in every way.”
Carnesecca kept a close eye on Mullin as he starred for Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan. Mullin then transferred to Xaverian H.S., Bay Ridge, for his senior season.
He was offered the chance to play at St. John’s University, Jamaica, under Carnesecca, allowing his career to blossom. Though he was a point guard as a youngster, Mullin grew to six-feet six-inches tall which made him a small forward. However, he took all the attributes of a point guard – vision, quickness, passing ability and leadership – with him.
Carnesecca described Mullin as a “fanatic” who never stopped working at his game. In addition to practicing his shot three hours a day, he was an unselfish player on the court that made everyone else better.
God-Given Ability
“His attributes were God-given,” said Carnesecca. “God gave him the ability, but he worked to improve it. He became more intense as he moved on. It was amazing.”
This work ethic led to a four-year college career that concluded with Mullin as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,440 pts. – surpassing the previous mark held by Bob Zawoluk. He was the first Johnnie to score 2,000 pts., and his career mark still stands today.
He averaged 19.5 ppg and helped lead the Redmen to a 1985 NCAA Final Four. For his efforts, he was named USBWA College Player of the Year.
The Golden State Warriors selected Mullin with the seventh overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, and what a pick it was!
The five-time All-Star enjoyed a 16-year professional career, 13 of which came with the Warriors and the other three with the Indiana Pacers. For a five-year stretch starting with the 1988-89 season, Mullin averaged at least 25.0 ppg, scoring in double figures in 14 of his 16 seasons.
In addition to his success in the NBA, he is a two-time Olympic gold medalist – once in 1984 as an amateur and again in 1992 as a member of the famous “Dream Team.”
All of his hard work and sweat has now paid off with an enshrinement amongst basketball immortals. Mullin’s respect and appreciation for the game also played a role in his induction.
“I accept it on behalf of a lot of people,” he said. “First and foremost my family and all the people who have helped me along the way both professionally and personally.”
Since he’s now a Hall of Famer, Mullin said he would continue his responsibility, especially to the Diocese of Brooklyn, in serving as an ambassador for the game of basketball.
“I’ve always felt very responsible and blessed from what the game of basketball has enabled me to do,” said Mullin. “When I think about my career at any level and all the people in it, it brings me great joy and puts a big smile on my face.”
Carnesecca said he’s thrilled that Mullin played for him and that the two developed a lasting relationship. Though Mullin credits Carnesecca as playing a role in his success, Carnesecca claims he can’t rightfully accept it.
“The guy made himself,” Carnesecca said. “He really did; he made himself. I bet he’s working right now on his shot.”
Currently, Mullin resides in Danville, Calif., and serves as an ESPN NBA analyst. His years of experience as both a player and general manager make him a perfect fit for the job.
His goal is to pass on his love for basketball to influence those who have big dreams in the game, just like he did as a youth.
“Basketball is something to celebrate,” Mullin said. “In my family, it was a gathering. It wasn’t just a game; it’s something you do together. It remains to be that, and that’s how I’ll remember it.”
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Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.

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