Chris Mullin’s trek from Brooklyn to St. John’s to Oakland and then to Indianapolis was always outlined by his incredible work ethic. It helped him to win two Olympic Gold Medals, reach five All-Star games, and average 25+ points for five consecutive seasons. It also helped him to reach the Hall of Fame. While many may question his eligibility, there’s no question the class and skill of Mullin helped shape a deserved Hall of Fame career.
While his career is largely remembered by his play with St. John’s and Golden State, his years with the Pacers can’t be discounted. They provided him with three Eastern Conference Finals appearances in his three Pacers seasons; even reaching the NBA Finals in 2000. The Pacers may have been a footnote in Mullin’s career, and the retrospective in it, there’s no denying how valuable he was in turning around a Pacers team that had missed the postseason in 1997.
It wasn’t just the impact he had with the Pacers on the floor. Former Pacers guard Mark Jackson showcased such admiration of Mullin to say, "If I had no met Chris Mullin, or played with him, I would not be a professional basketball player." Such praise is hard to ignore when taking into account the success Jackson helped bring to Indiana.
Mullin’s reflection as a Pacer was short, but showcased his admiration in getting to play for his idol Larry Bird as well as under the work of Donnie Walsh, also praising Jackson as a St. John’s and Indiana teammate. Mullin’s speech was warm and reflective. It was all of the class Mullin showcased through his entire NBA career. He thanked Mitch Richmond and also former Pacer Tim Hardaway for the Run TMC trio, even his nun supporters, citing prayers and support from 90-year-old nuns as a means for success.
While Pacers fans only got to watch the twilight of Mullin’s career up close that saw him become a vocal leader instead of a hardwood leader in 1999-00, there were still a lot of great things to take from what he brought to the Pacers as both over his three seasons.
In addition, it was nice to see the Hall of Fame finally begin to recognize ABA accomplishments with the induction of Artis Gilmore who began his speech confidently with "I am a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame." The ABA accomplishments Gilmore showcased were just a small part of the highly influential league the Indiana Pacers were at the top of the mountain. While this year, Chris Mullin’s enshrinement comes as a footnote to the Pacers, he could and should be the first in a long line of blue and gold greats making their way to Springfield.