Many Warriors and Pacers fans recall when Chris Mullin played for both teams in the ’80s and ’90s. One of the few players to leave his first team and then return (in his final season), the now 56-year-old arguably did not receive the appreciation he deserved. Yes, after three years playing for the Pacers, the Warriors brought him back for the 2000-01 season.
Mullen’s intention afterward was to work for the Warriors franchise in the front office. He did just that for several years and also consulted for the Sacramento Kings. By 2015, though, Mullin had an emotional calling to do something great for his alma mater, St. John’s University.
Why did Chris Mullin leave to coach at St. John’s?
No doubt it was too tempting not to take the head coach job of his former NYC college. St. John’s also wanted Mullin since he was a living legend there. Among his NBA feats, Mullin earned the Big East Player of the Year award three times in the ’80s as ESPN reports. When including his two Olympic gold medals and entering the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, fate sent him back to where he started.
His experience working as a consultant for the Kings also stood in for his coaching experience, despite never working the court as a coach. Nevertheless, his time at St. John’s was mostly happy.
A personal event occurred in Mullin’s life last year that made him step down. The details behind it make sense, something anyone who suffered personal loss will understand. One still has to wonder whether Mullin would’ve gotten St. John’s back to the NCAA finals eventually had he stayed.
The death that caused Chris Mullin to step down
Mullin clearly wanted to keep the news of this death private since he only stated a “personal loss” for his decision to step down. The New York Times broke the story last year by noting Mullin’s older brother, Roddy, had died of cancer at only 58 years old. No doubt this was the loss Mullin referred to. The former NBA player was always close to his family, including his dad who also died of cancer, in 1990, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Said Mullin: “I took time to reflect upon my true values and believe this is the right time to make a change. I am extremely grateful to the administration, which has supported me and our basketball program on every level”.
He said this after riding on the high of taking St. John’s to the NCAA First Four in 2019, albeit losing to Arizona. With two more years on his contract, all indications showed Mullin had a plan to take his old university to new heights after a 20-year dearth in the NCAA Finals.
Still, with the personal loss of his brother, stepping down was the right thing to help find where his values were best utilized. According to St. John’s, they were in the immediate process of finding a replacement to help them get back to the championship level.
Chris Mullin went back to the Warriors as a change of direction
Rather than retreat from public life, Mullin went back to the Golden State Warriors as a TV analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. Perhaps the team’s hot streak in winning NBA titles over the last five years wooed him back to take part in seeing them win yet another ring. Of course, this is now cut short due to COVID-19.
Still, considering the Warriors are like 1990s-era Chicago Bulls lately, anyone would want to head back to this kind of action. Most of all, it makes Mullin visible again being in the broadcasting booth after doing TV play-by-play analyzing earlier in his career.
Maybe after he basks in the Warriors spotlight again, he can return to St. John’s, unless his alma mater finally wins NCAA next year without his input.