Steve Kerr is in his sixth season with the Warriors. Mitch Richmond was with Golden State for half that time, but he knows what Kerr and the Dubs are going through right now.
Of the 14 seasons Richmond spent in the NBA, his team had a winning record only three times: his rookie season, his final season with the Warriors and the final season of his career.
Richmond went out on top, winning his only championship as a member of the 2001-02 Lakers. But on the whole, his teams lost far more games throughout his career than they won. Never, though, did they win fewer than 18 games.
"Very difficult," Richmond said referring to what Golden State is going through in this down season. "I know probably each and every guy feels like they're better than what they're doing right now, how they're playing. I think right now, the Warriors have had so much success in the last 5-6 years that every team they play against now just really wants to get 'em back. They don't care who's out there on the court. They want to really take it to 'em."
Although the Warriors currently are going through a tough time, Richmond's playing experience has assured him that they won't be without a large contingent of support, no matter what their record is.
"They're consistent," Richmond said of Warriors fans, "and they're going to continue to keep cheering for the team. I think the Warriors and the Kings are probably the best arenas to play in due to the fans. They come out and cheer their team, and during the Warriors' run, they never sat down. So, maybe they're sitting down a little bit, they might not be cheering as much, but they will be there to support the team."
While Richmond was with Golden State, he and the Warriors gave their fans plenty to cheer about. Although it lasted only three seasons, the 'Run TMC' era that he, Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin starred in throughout remains one of the most fondly remembered times in franchise history. Run TMC only made the playoffs twice and never got past the second round. It came to an abrupt end when Richmond was traded to Sacramento following the 1990-91 season, which remains a sore spot for him.
"It's a little bitter and sweet," Richmond described his Run TMC memories, "because we had a great time and a fun time playing. I think any team or organization tries to build a team like we had there, where everyone got along, everyone loved playing. There were times when they had to push us out of the gym because we would continue to play after practice. So, any time you have something special like that and it breaks up, it's heartbreak.
"I loved Run TMC. I had some of the best times playing with those guys, but then I look back and I'm like, 'God dang it, man.' We could have made a lot of noise. We were on our way to being pretty good and we only needed a couple more pieces, and then to see that break up, that was pretty difficult."
Before joining NBC Sports California as a Kings analyst this season, Richmond spent the last four years on Mullin's coaching staff at St. John's University. The longtime friends have maintained a close relationship ever since their playing days, and now that Mullin is a Warriors analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, there will be more opportunities to work together.
For instance, Dec. 11 will mark the first of four Warriors game broadcasts this season in which Run TMC will be included in pregame and postgame coverage.
Naturally, one would expect those three memorable seasons Run TMC spent together to be a main topic of discussion. However, it's possible Mullin and Hardaway have learned their lesson by now.
"It used to come up a lot," Richmond said, "but they know that kind of upset me a lot, so they kind of keep it down."
That said, if there's any group that can make this Warriors' season more fun, it's those guys.
Run TMC's Mitch Richmond empathizes with Warriors' current struggles originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area