What started as a nostalgic journey down memory lane turned sour as soon as Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob grabbed the microphone.
The jersey retirement ceremony of Golden State Warriors legend Chris Mullin, at halftime of Monday’s game against Minnesota, was rolling along smoothly. Marked by funny stories, a video tribute and a rousing ovation for Mullin.
“This is where it all started for me as a pro,” Mullin said. “I came in as a young man. I made mistakes. I worked hard to redeem myself. And by the grace of God I am here today. I grew up right here in front of you. You, the Warrior fans, were a huge part of my success.”
But it was soon taken over by relentless boos at Lacob.
For several minutes, after Mullin gave his acceptance speech, Lacob was interrupted by a chorus of jeers and chants of “We Want Monta!” from fans. It was uncomfortable enough that Mullin got back up to encourage the fans to be patient with Lacob and the new ownership.
“Everything will work out just fine,” Mullin said, his arm around a clearly rattled Lacob. “Take that passion and point it in the right direction.”
When Mullin finished speaking, the fans cheered again. But as soon as Mullin sat down, and Lacob began to speak, the boos rang out again. And louder. That prompted Hall of Famer Rick Barry to get up and chastise the fans, calling the display “classless.”
Eventually, Lacob got through his speech and presented the Mullin family with a week vacation inMaui. After that, Mullin’s daughter led the unveiling of the jersey and the ceremony, finally, was complete.
The booing of Lacob will certainly go down as the most memorable part of Mullin’s retirement ceremony for everyone accept Mullin. He was all smiles
Mullin’s No. 17 is the sixth jersey retired in Warriors history – joining Barry (24), Wilt Chamberlain (13), Al Attles (16), Nate Thurmond (42) and Tom Meschery (14).
Several of Mullin’s former teammates – Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Sarunas Marciulionis, Rod Higgins and Tom Tombert – were on hand for the retirement of his No. 17 jersey at halftime of Monday’s game vs.Minnesota. Even Mullin’s long-time coach, Don Nelson was in attendance wearing a tie.
“It’s my honor,” Mullin said, “to join the greats of this franchise and to be surrounded by my teammates, my coach. Although we never achieved the ultimate (by winning a) championship, I wouldn’t trade it for the people in this room.”