NEW YORK — Mitch Richmond, the Sacramento Kings all-time leading scorer who played many of his most productive seasons with the team, was named on Monday to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He becomes the 14th player in franchise history and the first during the Sacramento-era to earn Hall of Fame induction. Enshrinement festivities are scheduled to take place on Friday, Aug. 8, in Springfield, Mass.
Richmond is joined in the Class of 2014 by Alonzo Mourning, Bob Leonard, Nat Clifton, Nolan Richardson, Guy Rodgers, Gary Williams, David Stern, the Immaculata University teams of the 1970s and former Kings guard Sarunas Marciulionis.
Selected fifth overall by Golden State in the 1988 NBA Draft, Richmond spent three years with the Warriors and was named Rookie of the Year following the 1988-89 campaign. He was then traded to Sacramento along with Les Jepsen and a second-round draft pick on Nov. 1, 1991, in exchange for Billy Owens.
Richmond proceeded to make indelible marks on the franchise—impressions that remain strewn throughout Kings annals today. Known fittingly and admiringly by fans, teammates and opponents as “Rock,” the moniker described both a style of play and his monumental importance to the team.
Coupled with an ability to score at will and shoot for high percentages, Richmond’s lock-down defensive intensity routinely stifled some of the best scorers in the game. It was this rare capacity to impact contests on each end of the court which landed him on six consecutive All-NBA Teams during his tenure in Sacramento, where he averaged 23.3 points per game. When asked to share thoughts regarding Richmond, Michael Jordan was oft-quoted as saying the Kansas State product was one of “the toughest players he ever guarded.”
The basketball prowess long on display for Kings fans reached a national audience when Richmond was named MVP of the 1995 All-Star Game, registering 23 points in just 22 minutes off the bench. The following summer, he added an Olympic gold medal to his mantle when USA defeated future Kings great Vlade Divac and Yugoslavia at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. He also won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
“I would like to thank the Kings organization for seven unforgettable years in Sacramento,” said Richmond. “My time in a Kings uniform playing to the support of the most raucous and passionate fans in the NBA certainly played a significant role in making it to the Hall of Fame. I also want to express my appreciation to all of the terrific teammates, coaches, front office personnel and staff who helped make those seasons special.”
Before his illustrious tenure in Sacramento came to a close following the 1997-98 season, Richmond’s name was emblazoned in the record book, a placeholder as the Sac-era leader in points (12,070), field goals made (4,230), field goals attempted (9,338) and free throws made (2,617) and attempted (3,088). He also stands second behind Peja Stojakovic in games played (517) and Doug Christie in steals (670). He trails only Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman in all-time franchise scoring and sits second behind Stojakovic in three-pointers made (993) and attempted (2,460).
Richmond’s legacy and contributions to the franchise were celebrated on Dec. 5, 2003 when he became the first player in Sac-era history to have his jersey retired. With career averages of 21.0 points (.455 field goal percentage, .388 3-pt percent, .850 free-throw percentage), 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game over 976 contests, he is one of only 39 players on the NBA’s all-time scoring list to amass more than 20,000 points.
He posted at least 21.0 points per contest in 10 consecutive seasons from 1988-89 – 1997-98. Additionally, he ranks 29th in league history with 1,326 three-pointers made, 34th in scoring average and 37th in points scored.
He culminated a 14-year career by spending three seasons as a member of the Washington Wizards (1998-99 – 2000-01) and winning an NBA Championship in his final campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers (2001-02).
Richmond currently serves as the Sacramento Kings Director of Pro Personnel.