SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway spent two seasons as teammates at Oracle Arena, back when it was called the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena.
The nostalgia is flooding back this week.
The Golden State Warriors’ era in Oakland is ending. Only two or three games remain, starting with Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. And when Mullin and Hardaway – two-thirds of the team’s famed “Run TMC” trio from 1989 through 1991 – reunited to appear at a Warriors’ youth summer camp, they couldn’t help but reflect on what the building has meant.
“It’s always time for change,” Hardaway said. “You knew it was going to come at some particular time. It’s here and now.”
The Warriors move across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco next season and start playing their games at the glistening new Chase Center, a building that will open in about three months. When the team started installing the first seats at the new building, Hardaway was there for the ceremony.
Mullin is still the only Warriors player to have 15 field goals in a game while posting a triple-double in the building now called Oracle. He said it is fitting to send the building out with a finals run.
“I think it brings back a lot of great memories,” Mullin said. “The incredible loyal fan base in Oakland and Oracle Arena. I think we have to be really proud and happy for how this thing’s closing out, right? … Change is inevitable, it brings a lot of different emotions, but the only thing we can (do) here is celebrate.”
Mullin and Hardaway still don’t disagree on all that much, including the current state of the Warriors. Win or lose these NBA Finals, they say the Warriors have already become a dynasty.
“This is one of the best teams ever put together,” Hardaway said.
Said Mullin: “They’re already a dynasty, up there with the greatest teams of all time. Going to five NBA Finals in a row hasn’t been done since Bill Russell’s Celtics. That, right there – that was a dynasty, this is a dynasty.”
They would have preferred to have the entirety of Run TMC at the camp with them – Mitch Richmond was tending to a business matter in China, Mullin told the campers. But they had plenty of stories to regale the kids with: Mullin said there was no player he learned more from than Hardaway, and Hardaway recalled how he watched Mullin shoot for two hours without missing once.
They were together for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, Hardaway’s first two in the NBA. Their run ended when the Warriors traded Richmond to Sacramento.
But “Run TMC” remains part of Warriors’ lore.
“We’re blessed, Tim and I and Mitch to have been able to stay together, stay close friends, pretty much our whole lives,” Mullin said. “We often look back and we smile. We’ve got great memories together. Of course, we wanted it to last longer but we cherish the times we were together and we’re able to share it with each other and the greatest fans in the world.”