Alumni: Clint Richardson
Clint Richardson was drafted with the 14th pick in the second round of the 1972 NBA Draft. He was one of the many players that the late assistant coach and “Super Scout” Jack McMahon knew he had to have on his young developing 76ers team.
“Maurice (Cheeks) and I came in a year after each other”, recalled Richardson. “That was Jack’s big thing. Jack said that he was going to get players from small, hidden schools. They found Maurice in West Texas State, they found me in Seattle, Andrew (Toney) was in Southwest Louisiana. Jack was a genius.”
Ask anyone who was around the Sixers organization after the Sixers won the city’s last professional championship in the spring of 1983 and they will tell you that Jack McMahon put a championship team together both on and off the court. To this day, Clint credits Jack for the character players he assembled.
“We had a team where no one crossed the line. That’s why winning a championship wasn’t that big of a deal; for us it was just something that we were here to do. We had one of the best teams in the history of the NBA.”
And what a team they were. In the 1982-83 season they finished the season with 65 wins and 17 losses. So losing was not part of this team’s vocabulary.
“We didn’t lose that much at all. When I was here, we went to the (NBA) Finals three times. We were in the Eastern Conference Finals four times – we didn’t lose at all. It was a good system.”
Clint had a unique role in a system that allowed him to get significant minutes off the bench backing up both Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney. He was an excellent defender. Tim Malloy once described his defense as if he were “surgically attached to the player that he was guarding”.
“It was a situation where that’s what they needed me to do and that’s how I was going to get minutes. I was able to guard the bigger players and the smaller players because of my size. It was survival. That’s what motivated me to play defense, it was survival. There were times when I played just as much as they (Cheeks and Toney) did because I backed both of them up.”
Needless to say, Billy Cunningham, who was head coach at the time, had confidence in the players such as Clint that he brought off his bench. When asked to describe Coach Cunningham, Clint could not help but take a moment to put into words the essence of Billy’s character.
“He was a perfectionist. We were well prepared. We knew if we lost he wouldn’t talk to us and if we won he would – sometimes.”
Currently, Clint manages to come to back Philadelphia from time to time, mostly because of the strong connection that he says that he still feels toward the organization and city.
“I love Philadelphia…I love everything about Philly. Philadelphia is a special place. When you’re here as an athlete and the people don’t like you – you’re out of here! We matched up well.”To read more from Drive Magazine, the official magazine of the 76ers, Click Here