KID: Hi. I'm talking with Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors. Chris, is it O.K. if we ask you some questions?
KID: O.K. Where did you go to college?
MULLIN: St. John's University in New York.
KID: O.K. Did you play basketball there?
KID: O.K. Now. Would you mind signing your name, address and occupation here? [Mullin writes them down.] O.K. Now. What do you like best of all about basketball?
MULLIN: The thing I like best is the sharing you do with your teammates, the caring that goes on. It's kind of like what you have in a family situation.
Except that is not what Mullin had when he came to the Warriors in 1985. What Mullin had was a 12-player, 12-cab team. Joe Barry Carroll, Sleepy Floyd, Jerome Whitehead. Sixty losses the year before, and any seat you wanted in the Coliseum. "We had a lot of guys who just punched the clock," Mullin says.
That is not what Mullin was used to. Mullin was used to love, family, hoops and wins rolled up in one world. He grew up two blocks from St. Thomas Aquinas elementary school in Brooklyn, and he had a key to the gym. When Mrs. Mullin called her four boys in for dinner, she yelled toward St. Tom's and nowhere else. At St. John's, Chris's girlfriend, Liz Connolly, worked on the stats crew. Chris's family was closer than matchsticks. That's why the NFL draft was such an ice bath.