SI Vault
Rick Reilly
March 30, 1992
Four years after entering alcohol rehab, the Warriors' Chris Mullin is in control of his life—and his game
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March 30, 1992

In A Golden State

Four years after entering alcohol rehab, the Warriors' Chris Mullin is in control of his life—and his game

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Still, each time Mullin goes into the Razor's Edge, a two-chair barbershop in Alameda, he wants his hair shorter. He also wants the hot-lather shave with a real straight razor, and a neck rub. For this Mullin throws his man $20, far more than the actual fee. "Hey, are you kiddin'?" says Mullin. "You're dealing with razors here. I want to know he's getting justice."

Mullin has had the Sergeant Carter look ever since he got out of a 30-day alcohol rehabilitation program at Centinela Hospital in Los Angeles at the beginning of 1988. For one, he thinks the cut looks good on him. For two, it's a symbol of the new simplicity in his life—blunt and bare, nothing to hide. For three, his hair towels dry in, oh, about 11 seconds, it never gets in his eyes, and ROTC chicks dig it.

Rod Mullin probably would have liked the Razor's Edge too. It's a hang-around-and-laugh place. During the holidays Dick Kellogg, the owner, sets up a bar, and you know what that means. "Guys stay all day," Kellogg says, laughing.

Rod Mullin was a drunk, just like his son, but he wasn't mean about it. "He could be a little unpredictable when he'd drink," Chris says, "a little unpredictable in his temper and his mood." Yeah, Chris was scared of him. But not really scared. Rod was a warm man, even when he'd spent a good chunk of his 16-hour shift as a JFK Airport customs inspector drinking and waiting for the flights to come in. You would walk into Rod's house and hear "Come in, take your shoes off." And before you knew it, Rod would have a bowl of ice cream in your hands. Then he might measure you. Rod had this wall where he measured the kids' heights as often as once a month. He even kept up on the dog. Mullin men are very good to their dogs. Rod passed on the whole package to Chris—family, friends, warmth, bear hugs, dogs, booze.

But Rod beat it. Through the force of his own will, and without much help, he stopped drinking in 1980. He even started his own recovery group at the airport. The unpredictability slopped. His extra-large patience shone through. And he knew too much about drinking to try to tell his own kid to stop. Rod once said, "How do you tell the Wooden Award winner, the Player of the Year, an All-America, that he can't drink?" Chris would have to learn it himself.

4:15 P.M.

Chris Mullin is a street-ball-playing millionaire alcoholic from Brooklyn who can hang just the same with stockbrokers and con men, blacks and whites, kids and suits. So when the Warriors' limo pulls out of downtown San Francisco after a United Way appearance with some serious brokers from Salomon Brothers, and a dangerous-looking, unmarked white van pulls up and starts honking its horn, Mullin hangs cool.

"Slow down," Mullin says to the driver. He lowers the window. The man in the van's passenger scat looks like Mickey Rourke on a bad day—whiskered, bloody eyed, yelling something.

"Hey, I've got some absolutely kick-ass speakers in here!" he shouts. "Three hundred dollars! You want to.... Hey! You're Chris Mullin, right?"

Mullin shrugs a yes.

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