The Golden State Warriors have been one of the most dominant teams the NBA has ever seen in the past seven years.
The Warriors, led by the “Splash Brothers”, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, have become one of the most exciting backcourts we've ever seen.
Then, in 2016 when Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, we witnessed a “three-headed monster” that took the excitement level up a notch.
These Warriors (and ex-Warrior) are exciting to watch, but what if I told you there was a “three-headed monster” on the Warriors back in the 1990s that was just as exciting… maybe more exciting.
Chris Mullin began his NBA career in the 1985-86 season. The Golden State Warriors selected Mullin in the first round of the 1985 Draft with the seventh pick.
There, Mullin would average 14.0, 15.1, and 20.2 points per game in his first three seasons.
In the middle of his third season, Mullin admitted to his coach that he was an alcoholic.
He missed a few practices, which led to him getting suspended. Mullins entered an alcohol rehabilitation program, which appeared to help.
The next season, Mullins would get help on the basketball court. The Warriors selected Mitch Richmond with the fifth pick in the 1988 NBA Draft.
Richmond had an immediate impact on the Warriors. He averaged 22.0 points per game on 46.8% shooting. Richmond won the 1988-89 Rookie of the Year Award.
The very next season, The Warriors would get another excellent selection from the NBA Draft. With the 14th pick, the Warriors selected Tim Hardaway.
The Warriors had high hopes for Hardaway when they selected him. In college, Hardaway won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which is the award for the best college player in the nation six feet tall or under.
While in college, Hardaway developed a move he called the "UTEP two-step". This would be his famous crossover, which he'd make famous in the NBA.
The 1989-90 NBA season was the first year all three Warriors would play together.
Their quick pace style, which was dubbed “Nellie Ball”, after their coach, Don Nelson, revolutionized the game.
The idea was to use smaller players at the forward positions, so your team could push the ball more effectively up the court.
This run-and-gun style would keep the defense on their toes, not able to set up.
In today's NBA, many teams (if not all) play this style of small ball. But for the 1990 NBA, this was relatively new.
When the Warriors added Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway alongside Chris Mullin, Don Nelson had the perfect players to run his system.
This “Nellie Ball”, with Hardaway's crossovers, Mitch Richmond finishes at the rim, and Mullin draining shots from all over the court quickly became the NBA's most exciting show to watch.
The trio earned the nickname, Run-TMC, which was inspired by the popular hip-hop group, Run-DMC. Instead, the player's initials would be used (TMC) instead of DMC.
In just their first season together as a trio, the Warriors led the league in scoring with 116.3 points per game.
The problem for the Warriors though was defense. They didn't play any of it and because of this lack of defense, the Warriors finished with a 37-45 record. They missed the playoffs.
In the 1990-91 season, the Warriors sold out every home, as their popularity continued to rise.
In the first game of the season, the Warriors played the Denver Nuggets and the highest-scoring game in regulation occurred.
The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 162–158. In the game, Mullin scored 38, Hardaway scored 32 and Richmond scored 29.
In the first two years together as a trio, Run-TMC scored 20 points or more in the same game 48 times. The Warriors went 30–18 in those games.
The Warriors finished the 1990-91 NBA season with a 44–38 record. This was the Warriors' best record in nine years.
This year, the Warriors finished with the second-highest scoring average in the league with 116.6.
The trio was among the top 11 best scorers of the 1990-91 NBA season.
Mullin finished 8th in scoring with 25.7, Richmond 10th with 23.9, and Hardaway finished 11th with 22.9 points per game.
Run-TMC averaged 72.5 points, which made them the league's highest-scoring trio. Their 72.5 points per game put them as the second-highest in NBA history for a 20-point trio.
The only trio that scored than Run-TMC was the Denver Nuggets' trio of Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Dan Issel. They averaged a combined 76.7 in the 1982-83 NBA season.
Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks even said he wanted to leave the Knicks and join Run-TMC's act. Could you imagine this big four?
Instead, Run-TMC remained a group of three and their defense remained a problem. They'd overcome this in the first round of the 1990-91 playoffs.
The Warriors were the 7th seed and the Spurs were the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. But in the playoffs, the Spurs couldn't keep up with the high-scoring trio.
In the series, Mullin averaged 25.3, Hardaway averaged 23.3, and Richmond averaged 22.3 points per game.
The Warriors won the series 3-1 to advance to the second round to play Magic Johnson and his Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors' defensive woes would be their downfall as the more experienced Lakers easily won the series, 4-1, ending Run-TMC's fantastic basketball act.
November 1, 1991, Run-TMC's fantastic basketball act would be broken up for good as the Warriors traded Mitch Richmond to the Sacramento Kings.
Each player had a respectable career after their Run-TMC act was finished.
Mullin would play until 2001 and he was a member of the greatest team ever assembled, the 1992 USA Dream Team.
Hardaway would become a five-time All-Star, and he'd later have a great career in Miami with the Heat.
Hardaway shares the record for most steals in a playoff game with eight. He achieved this twice.
Richmond went on to have the best finish of any Run-TMC player.
After being a high scorer in Sacramento and Washington, Richmond took a backseat role in LA as a member of the 2001-02 Lakers.
Richmond would only play 11.1 minutes per game and his scoring dropped to a career-low 4.1. Even though Richmond took a backseat role, it paid off as the Lakers won the title, their third straight.
Run-TMC's time together was short-lived, but the two years that they were on the court together, they put on one of the greatest shows we NBA fans have ever witnessed.