Mitch Richmond could hardly contain his emotions when it was time for him to speak at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday in Springfield, Mass.
As he stepped to the podium and looked at the crowd of famous faces he shook his head and smiled.
“From Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the basketball Hall of Fame … wow,” Richmond said. “This is the ultimate honor.”
Richmond was inducted into the Hall of Fame after a successful 14-year career in the NBA and a memorable run at Kansas State. He averaged 21 points as a professional basketball player, playing so well with the Sacramento Kings that they retired his jersey. He also played for Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers.
He won an NBA championship in his final season with the Lakers and twice represented the United States in the Olympics, winning a gold medal in 1996.
At Kansas State, Richmond averaged more than 20 points and won 45 games in two seasons for then-coach Lon Kruger. In 1987 he guided the Wildcats to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The following year, he led them to the Elite Eight. His jersey hangs from the rafters at Bramlage Coliseum.
He thanked Kruger, who was in attendance, for helping him become the No. 5 pick in the 1988 NBA Draft.
“Lon Kruger not only developed my game, but also taught me about accountability,” Richmond said. “He said to me, ‘I can help you, but you have to be committed.’ That meant showing up early for practice and staying late. That extra work really paid off.”
| Kellis Robinett, firstname.lastname@example.org.