Micheal Ray Richardson Rumors
His story is better than any buzzer-beating basket. His reality beats any fantasy. Micheal Ray Richardson overcame the path of self-destruction and now does all he can to keep others away from the perils of drugs. As the community ambassador of the Denver Nuggets, Richardson is a visible figure in his home state, a tireless spokesman for one of the most important topics of our time: drugs. “I speak to kids every day about how important it is to stay in school, to carefully choose your friends and beware of the dangers about being around the wrong people since they are always getting involved with drugs,” Richardson was saying Saturday during a phone conversation. “My speech is really from my history. I think that a person like me has a lot to offer young kids.”
The Knicks were owned at the time by Gulf+Western, and led by guard Micheal Ray Richardson, who averaged almost 18 points per game despite a rumored cocaine addiction. Richardson famously said, “The ship be sinking,” as the team fell to 33-49, finishing last in the Atlantic Division. He was banned for life from the NBA in 1986 for violating the NBA’s drug policy three times. “Hell no!” Richardson, 58 and living in Texas, told The Post when asked about the point-shaving allegations. “We never did anything like that.”
Richardson spoke to Williams for 45 minutes Monday. “We talked about the olden times, about how life isn’t fair but sometimes it’s what you do with it,’’ Richardson said. “He was a tough defender, he could do it all. A big guy in the locker room. We all did think that (he’d be a superstar). Things happen. He was traded. I was traded. I got into something I shouldn’t have gotten into.’’
On the day Ray Williams passed away, was it karma or coincidence Micheal Ray Richardson was on the Knicks’ scene Friday night at Air Canada Centre? The Knicks drafted Williams with the 10th pick in 1977 to be Walt Frazier’s successor. Williams and backcourt mate Richardson were supposed to lead the Knicks back to the promised land. Last night, the Garden held a moment of silence for Williams and original Knick, Bud Palmer. Never worked out that way. “I’m real sad,’’ Richardson told The Post Friday night while watching the Knicks beat the Raptors. “He and I were like brothers.’’ Williams died yesterday after battling colon cancer at Sloane Kettering Hospital at age 58. Richardson is living in Canada, coaching the nearby London Lightning of the NBL, and had stopped by to visit his former teammates, Knicks coach Mike Woodson and assistant Darrell Walker.
“The low point of every moment has been happy, include dealing with the media, but I haven’t enjoyed having the responsibility to end careers,” he said of the lifetime bans imposed on repeat drug abusers such as Micheal Ray Richardson and Lewis Lloyd. “But for the most part it has been a series of extraordinary experiences, and enormous putting-together of pieces of a puzzle, and it goes on for forever. There will always be another piece of the puzzle, so the question is, at what point do you decide that, you know, let somebody else do it? That’s the point that I’m at now.”
Joe Taub, the man who helped bring the Nets to Jersey 35 years ago, wasn’t there. He couldn’t drag himself to Newark, couldn’t watch his team play its last game in Newark and leave the state. He wouldn’t even return phone calls to talk about it. “This whole event is about him,” said Micheal Ray Richardson, who spoke with the former owner this week. “It was just a sad moment for him. He has a right to be sad. He worked so hard to bring an NBA franchise here.”
He doesn’t know what the future holds but even though he would like a chance to coach in the NBA, the thought doesn’t consume him. “I don’t regret anything. Would I do things differently if I had another chance? Of course,” Richardson said. Richardson does think about what could have been though. He remembers Len Bias, a college star selected by the Boston Celtics as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. Two days after the draft, Bias died from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose. “Len Bias never had a chance. God gave me another chance,” Richardson said. “I have great health, I am happy. Like I said, God had a plan for me. He had a plan for Len Bias. That could have been me. There is a plan for me.”