Breaking up Run TMC is one of Don Nelson's greatest regrets. A team that scored 162 in a regular-season game with no overtime got only two years to prove its worth. After losing in the conference semifinals from Magic Johnson and the Lakers, people convinced Nelson the team should play a more conventional style of basketball.
The man who suffered most through that was Mich Richmond; he was the one that got traded. Richmond had a feeling a trade might happen, so when Don Nelson called him up for a conversation, Richmond was sure he got traded. He just had one wish. This is how he started the conversation with Nelson.
“I know you're trading me, but don't tell me you're trading me to the Sacramento Kings. He said, 'I traded you to the Sacramento Kings.' That was one of the worst days of my life.”
Richmond played for 14 years in the NBA and said Run TMC was the most fun he ever had in his career. Hardaway, Mullin, and Richmond lived around the corner from each other and spent a lot of time together. It was the perfect core to build a team around. Suddenly, Richmond had to accept the fact he was no longer a part of that, and move to the dysfunctional Sacramento Kings. To make things worse, the very next day, the Kings were playing the Warriors in Oakland. After walking into the Warriors locker room by accident, he found his way to the visitor locker room.
“I walk in, and the first thing I hear from one of the players was 'Welcome to hell.' I'm like 'Oh shit, God damn!' I'm just sitting there, have my clothes on, and Spud Webb comes down and sits next to me. Spudd whispers to me, 'Man, I don't wish this on nobody, but I'm glad that you're here with me.'”
The Kings' coach asked Richmond if he's playing, and he said, "nope." Richmond was still so shaken up from the trade, didn't have a single practice or shootaround with the Kings, and was supposed to play his former team. He went to his car and just drove around. He came home and saw that the Kings lost by 61 points.
“I just start crying. I called my agent, a young player I didn't even know the rules. I called him and asked 'Is there any way I could retire?'”
His agent explained to him it doesn't work like that. To add insult to injury, Richmond had just purchased a house thinking he would be playing in Oakland. He decided he won't move and would just make the 90 min drive every day. So the next day, the Kings had practice at 10:30. Learning he can't retire, Richmond decided to try and be professional, so he showed up a bit early.
“I get there by 9:00, get there a bit early. Walk in the locker room; no one's there. 10 o'clock comes, no one there. 10:30 comes, no one there. I stay there 'till noon. Randy Brown walks in, and I said, 'Hey, what time's practice.' He said, 'Man, we got two days off.' I said, "TWO DAYS OFF, WE JUST FUCKING LOST BY 61!!'”
Richmond commuted all three years while playing for the Kings. He was still so connected with the Warriors that during all that time, he would visit Warriors events, and spend his summers working out with the Mullin and Hardaway. They may have played together for only two years, but that was enough to remain fan favorite in Golden State and around the NBA.