Mitch Richmond returns to Sacramento, tries to help save team


mitch-richmond-sacramentoMayor Kevin Johnson’s State of the City address had few surprises for Sacramento.  But he did have some tricks up his sleeve and one of them came in the form of an all-time Sacramento Kings great.

Mitch Richmond is one of 25 local investors pledging $1 million each in the mayor’s effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento.  Until last week’s State of the City announcement, his involvement remained anonymous.

Today, the six-time NBA All-Star was back in the capital city, meeting with fans and drumming up support for the city’s bid.

Richmond chatted with locak media at Firestone Public House in Downtown Sacramento, explaining how he got into the mix.

“How’d I get involved?  Just been keeping up with the city of Sacramento and also the Kings.  Me and the mayor spoke and decided it was a good way to try to give back to the city and get involved.  And me and the mayor talked and this is what we came up with,” Richmond said.

Richmond now resides in Los Angeles, but still holds a fondness for Sacramento.

“I played here seven years.  And once you play (here) and once you’re a King, you’re always a King.  And you know, it was some good times here.  I know as far as team-wise, we didn’t have a lot of success.  But, a lot of things that (I accomplished) – I’m the finalist for the Hall of Fame and it all came from here.  It all came from playing seven years (with) this team and this city was backing me. Made six All-Star teams here.  A lot of awards, a lot of good memories, a lot of good friends that I have here.  So, this city means a lot to me, no doubt, ” Richmond said.

Ex-NBA guard said he was staying optimistic and positive on the whole issue.

“Kevin Johnson has done some amazing things in a short period of time and a lot of people have come together. The community has come together. The fan support has come together. You guys out here today. It just goes to show you that this city is backing their team and they want it to stay,” Richmond noted.

He said that he thinks from (an outsider’s) perspective, everyone thinks that the team is gone.

“(But I’m) just, you know, staying positive and staying optimistic. I just feel like we have a shot.  We have a great shot to keep the team here in Sacramento,” he said.

Richmond also sees his involvement as an opportunity to repay Kings’ fans for their loyalty and support during the lean years he played in Sacramento.

Richmond was a 6-time NBA All-Star, and also won the 1988-89 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

He scored double figures in scoring in 13 of his 14 seasons. He also won the NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001-2002.

Richmond, considered one of the best shooters in the NBA, averaged career high 25.9 ppg for Sacramento in 1996-97.

He holds career averages of 21 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 3.5 apg in 976 NBA games, in 902 of which he started.

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