Monday, 9 September 2013

RUN-TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond & Chris Mullin) Feature-TOUGHER THAN LEATHER

NBA Jam Masters.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY.

They called themselves Run-TMC. Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin's trio was named after hip-hop legends Run-DMC and these heroes where tougher than Basketball leather. It was tricky to deal with this California cult, classic legacy of a group of guys as legendary as the Fab Five in Michigan. These true Warriors of Golden State brought their big three talents to the Gold Coast way before LeBron James made that South Beach decision or Garnett, Pierce and Allen made that Celtic one, or when the Bucks had that original great 90's big three in Milwaukee, antler-headed by 'Bron's hot sharp shooting Heat teammate and king of the three in more ways than one Ray Allen. Decked out in their Adidas with yellow and blue pin-stripes and classic shell suit warm ups, these guys where as hip as their Basketball hops. All that was missing was the bowler hats, turntables and a microphone. Walking and dribbling their way to Basketball supremacy other threes had it good but not like this.

Here we go, these NBA Jam masters where high octane, video game like players once they where unleashed by legendary coach Don Nelson. His brand of 'Nellie Ball' ran and stampeded through the floor like elephants with bounce and beats to the court. If you weren't down with these hardwood kings then you where truly 'illin' like yelling "touchdown" to Dr. J. These three where the perfect medicine for an opponents bad game. Public Enemy laid the bball, b-boy soundtrack but these guys had the game. They where just that good. It was like that and that's the way it was. Now here's the hook. They may haven't have won a championship but they drew a line and sunk the notion that the late eighties/early nineties was only all about big-men and the big three of Magic, Michael and Bird. They proved in this triangle dominated game that big threes could work with cohesivness and class and without Madonna.

All rolled into one this three was a holy trinity of heaven sent players for hoop-heads and player purists. Roots, rap and hoops made these off Alcatraz Golden State guys the kings of the rock. Sucker opponents couldn't hang with this time, they may as well have retired to the sires. The short but sweet group disbanded in 1991 but this once, twice, three times a bball unit like Mills, Phills and Hill recently reformed like the Beatles. This weekend saw the retired legend reunite for Mitch Richmond's brilliant 'M Rock Life' charities anti-bullying, all-star basketball game. With teammates like actor Jamie Foxx, R&B superstar Tank (of Run 'TGT') and NBA greats Gilbert Arenas and Tyson Chandler it was a star studded affair, as well as a worthy cause. Still even with all the Hollywood heavy weight, the feature attraction was 'The Rock' Mitch Richmond and his concrete strong teammates from his Run-GSW days with their set in stone storied legacy.

This Hall of Fame weekend nominees Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway should have joined fellow Oakland legend Gary Payton and the C, Chris Mullin in Springfield (Mullin who call his Golden State tenure with his partners, "the most fun I had playing basketball in my whole life", also believes their jerseys should have been raised to the rafters the same time as his). Still, Mitchell and Timmy will be initialed and initiated too and have their day with Naismith...they just had something much more important to show up for this weekend. Taking a stand against the major issue of bullying, like the high-scoring set did against any opponent, this magnificent collective of TMC took the high-road and showed that these NBA legends care. Last night proved something that 1989 to 1991 did. If only these guys had more time...what could have been. Maybe it was too good to be true, but all good things and that. Still, even though it had to end on court, from throwbacks in uniform and on videotape the memories will never ring out to a final buzzer. They raised hell to the crown royale.

Named by a contest in San Francisco newspaper the Examiner, Run-TMC still sell t-shirts and bobbleheads as well as throwbacks today. Back in the day they sold out games and even had THE Run-D.M.C. perform at a playoff game. This is how much of a following these Peter Pipers had. He may have picked peppers and Run may have rocked rhymes, but TMC changed the game. From the rim of the Pacific these guys cancelled the doubt of a down and out team and took over the world like those aliens against robots in that Idris Elba apocalypse picture. The popularity of these Golden State Warriors rose like San Francisco tram-lines, tracking their success to more than just the other side of that bridge in the city. Just check the jerseys...or the stats. 48 times all three scored 20 or more as they where 30-18 in those contests, upsetting everyone including David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers. Their league high combined average of 72.5 points is the second highest in association history by a 20 point trio. Only Denver's Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe and Dan Issel Nuggets at 76.7 have mined more.

The gold lied back across the bay however. From Mitch Richmond's rock hard offensive play that even took Michael Jordan to town, to Tim Hardaway crossing over NBA tradition way before Allen Iverson answered the call. A buzz-cut above the rest, Chris Mullin overcame drinking problems to play and shoot everybody under the table with his behind the arc talent. These Olympians reached the highest pedestals and podiums but it all started with their dream team of three. As Don Nelson's trade hand was forced for a centre of attention in a big man era the TMC three became stars in their own individual right. Mitch Richmond became a King in Sacramento and a champion for the Lakers, while Tim Hardaway crossed his talents to South Beach where he became Miami Heat's superstar, while Chris Mullin kept up pace with Indiana almost reaching the Basketball promised land. Still, despite all their solo success nothing shone brighter than their potential and promise in Golden State. They just don't make hip-hop groups like the pioneers of Run-DMC and just like their music namesakes it's a shame the original and fresh Run-TMC aren't playing anymore like the good old days. Even in this weekends highlight reel rewind, sometimes nothing beats the old-school. This has been a Basketball education. Now do the hokey kokey and turn around, because that's what its all about.

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