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Catching Up With Jeff Mullins


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A key component to two of the most successful teams in Golden State Warriors history, Jeff Mullins played 10 seasons for the club and was a three-time All-Star. The former Duke star and 1964 Olympic gold medalist was originally selected by the St. Louis Hawks, but came west in 1966. He played in the NBA Finals in his first season with the Warriors and was also a part of the 1975 NBA championship team. Mullins averaged more than 20 points for four-straight seasons (1968-69 through 1971-72) and he finished his Warriors career with averages of 17.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists over 716 games. Following his playing career, Mullins spent 11 years coaching in the college ranks at Charlotte and he now splits his time between North Carolina and Florida in semi-retirement.

Warriors.com (DotCom): What is taking up your time these days?
Jeff Mullins (JM): I’d say I’m semi-retired now. I still manage some real estate properties and I’m always looking to buy and sell something. As you know, the last couple years haven’t been the best time to do that so I’ve slowed down a little bit. My wife and I like to travel a little bit. We both love tennis so we play a lot of tennis in our spare time.

DotCom: Do you still keep in touch with the game?
JM: I still enjoy watching both pro basketball and the college basketball. As you said, this is a hotbed for college basketball and it seems like my alma matter Duke is always on top or near the top. It’s fun to watch whether I’m in Florida or North Carolina. I try to stay close and pay attention to the scores … I still think playoff basketball is one of the great sport competitions and I enjoy watching it.

DotCom: What are some of your fondest playoff memories?
JM: Of course ’75 and winning the championship has to rank the highest. My first year in San Francisco, the year that Rick led the NBA in scoring, we were all kind of new to each other and we played that great Philly team and lost in six. Those two years really stand out … One of the problems we faced was that we always seemed to make the playoffs but you either had to beat Milwaukee with Kareem and Oscar or the Lakers with Wilt, Jerry, Elgin and that group so we always had our hands full, but they were always very competitive.

DotCom: Who are some of your favorite teammates from your Warriors career?
JM: I’m still good friends with Al, Rick and Nate. They were the guys who were there when I arrived when Bill Sharman made the trade for me to come to San Francisco. … I’m so excited about the new ownership and bringing Jerry West on board. I think the Warriors lost that culture of winning and that comes with having veteran players and really good citizens. That’s what Al, Nate Thurmond and Rick Barry brought to the team. Everybody wanted to win and when you have that culture, it’s a lot of fun so I think of those guys right away.

DotCom: Do you have a favorite story or two from your playing days with the Warriors?
JM: It’s not really a story, but the one thing I always tell about the old days is that when we started out in San Francisco, there were only two teams on the West Coast. So every time we had a road trip, we were gone usually for about 10 days … So every time I hear players today talk about “Well, we probably won’t win because it’s back-to-back games,” I think how crazy the old days used to be with the travel, particularly for the West Coast teams because we were always going east to play games.

… That brings up a funny story and it’s a great testimony to Franklin Mieuli. The first year I was in San Francisco, Bill Sharman was our coach and we had a real bad road trip. I think we lost four out of five. We were coming back to play one of our home games in Fresno and of course Franklin (Mieuli) was such a super guy, I think in his mind he said, “What these guys needed was to see their wives.” So we get off the plane in Fresno and there are all the wives there, smiling and laughing, and I look at Bill Sharman and he had a look on his face like he wanted to put us in purgatory and here is the owner bringing all the wives down to cheer everybody up. It was a very funny time. Bill had to bite his lip and we ended up winning that game so we kind of redeemed ourselves I guess.

DotCom: Can you contrast some of the coaches you played for?
JM: I always have a soft spot for Bill Sharman because he’s the guy who kind of reinvented my career. I had a tough year and a half in St. Louis and when I got there, he said, “Jeff, I want you to play just like you did in college …” Very quickly, everything fell into place so I have a special place for Bill. He was a very intense coach and I think he is the one guy who initiated the morning shootaround. He really believed in that and now of course every college and pro (teams), most all of them do that.

And Al Attles is the perfect gentleman, just a terrific guy. Very open to ideas and suggestions. He treated everybody the same way, had the respect of everybody. You just can’t find a finer gentleman in the NBA than Al Attles. He was a joy to play for and play with, actually.

DotCom: What was harder for you, playing in an intense playoff game or coaching in a NCAA Tournament game?
JM: I think playing is easier actually. You have butterflies before both but once the ball goes up as a player, you forget about it. As a coach, it’s pretty tense all the way through.


Listen To The Full Interview With Jeff Mullins
YEAR
G
MIN
FGM
FGA
FG%
3FGM
3FGA
3FG%
FTM
FTA
FT%
REB
AST
STL
BLK
PTS
AVG
66-67
77
1835
421
919
0.458
—
—
—
150
214
0.701
388
226
—
—
992
12.9
67-68
79
2805
610
1391
0.439
—
—
—
273
344
0.794
447
351
—
—
1493
18.9
68-69
78
2916
697
1517
0.459
—
—
—
381
452
0.843
460
339
—
—
1775
22.8
69-70
74
2861
656
1426
0.460
—
—
—
320
378
0.847
382
360
—
—
1632
22.1
70-71
75
2909
630
1308
0.482
—
—
—
302
358
0.844
341
332
—
—
1562
20.8
71-72
80
3214
685
1466
0.467
—
—
—
350
441
0.794
444
471
—
—
1720
21.5
72-73
81
3005
651
1321
0.493
—
—
—
143
172
0.831
363
337
—
—
1445
17.8
73-74
77
2498
541
1114
0.473
—
—
—
168
192
0.875
276
305
69
22
1250
16.2
74-75
66
1141
234
514
0.455
—
—
—
71
87
0.816
123
153
57
14
539
8.2
75-76
29
311
58
120
0.483
—
—
—
23
29
0.793
32
39
14
1
139
4.8

TOTALS
716
23,495
5183
11,126
0.466
—
—
—
2181
2667
0.818
3256
2913
140
37
12,547
17.6




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