Mitch Richmond relishes second shot at Basketball Hall of Fame

NEW ORLEANS – Mitch Richmond is getting another shot at the Hall of Fame.  After narrowly missing the cut last year, the former Sacramento Kings great is happy to once again be a finalist, this time with the class of 2014.

He’s “very excited,” Richmond told Cowbell Kingdom after being announced a Hall of Fame finalist for a second consecutive year.  “Every time you have the opportunity to go to the Hall and to be nominated is the most on anything.  And for people to recognize what I did on the court, it means a lot.  It really does.”

Richmond had a storied career worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.  He played 14 seasons in the NBA, including seven campaigns in a Kings uniform.  Richmond appeared in six All-Star Games in his career, each as a member of the Kings and won the midseason classic’s MVP award in 1995.  He also scored over 20,000 points and averaged more than 21 points per game for 10 straight years in the league.

Since his last bid for the Hall of Fame, the 48-year-old former guard has returned to his roots in Sacramento.  Richmond is now part of the Kings’ new ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé and assists general manager Pete D’Alessandro with basketball operations.  Making the Hall of Fame this year would be a little more special for Richmond considering he’s back in the city where he enjoyed most of his individual NBA success.

“I think it would be awesome,” Richmond said of the possibility of making the Hall this year. “I think a lot of things have happened to Sacramento in the past 12 months that we truly, truly enjoy and I think it’s gonna be more to come.  To get nominated and to receive a nomination of being in the Hall, it would be a blessing, man.  Just to see what we’re going to do in 2015, ’16 and ’17 with the new arena.”

Richmond will find out his fate on Monday, April 7, during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  If he earns the honor, Richmond would be enshrined during Hall of Fame festivities in Springfield, Mass., in August.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson also a Hall finalist

Can the next year get any better for the mayor of Sacramento?  It definitely can if Kevin Johnson is elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Along with Richmond, Johnson was named among 10 finalists for this year’s class.  Other notable names on that list include Tim Hardaway, Alonzo MourningSpencer Haywood, Nolan Richardson, Eddie Sutton and Gary Williams.

“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen as a finalist for the Hall of Fame and I am sincerely humbled. It is especially gratifying to be recognized by the Committee for all of the hard work and effort we all put into the game. To be considered along with three great peers of mine, Tim, ‘Zo, and Mitch, as well as Spencer, is icing on the cake,” Johnson said in a prepared statement issued by the city.

As a member of the Phoenix Suns, Johnson made three All-Star games and also became one of just three players to average at least 20 points and 12 assists in a single season (Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas were the other two).  In 13 NBA seasons, Johnson averaged 17.9 points and 9.1 assists per game.

David Stern and Sarunas Marciulionis directly elected into the Hall

David Stern may have just retired, but the accolades and recognition are still raining down on the former NBA commissioner.  Yesterday, Stern was among five members directly elected into this year’s Hall of Fame class.

In Stern’s 30-year reign, the NBA grew financially and in image.  The former NBA commissioner however will be remembered most in Sacramento for allowing the Kings stay in the capital city following several failed relocation attempts.

Joining Stern is former Kings guard Sarunas Marciulionis.  The Lithuanian guard played seven seasons in the NBA, including one year in a Kings uniform.  Marciulionis is one of the key figures in developing basketball in his home country of Lithuania.  One of Marciulionis’ many accomplishments was resurrecting the Lithuanian national team in the early 90s, leading his country’s participation in the 1992 Summer Olympics.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.