Before Magic Johnson, there was a tall, flexible point guard with a short but great career in the NBA. Let’s put the 13-year NBA reigning champion of the Lakers aside while discussing a potential all-time great who most of us have never even heard of because it would be unjust to compare anyone to him or her.
Before Magic Johnson entered the NBA in 1979, the league already had a tall, reliable, all-around point guard. And it wasn’t much earlier either. In actuality, we’re discussing Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson, the fourth choice overall in the 1978 Draft. The 6’5″ guard for the New York Knicks was a competent player with a vast skill set, just like the illustrious boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, as his name implies.
Michael Ray Richardson had a respectable impact on the NBA and later on the world, though not as much as Magic Johnson. Richardson led the league in assists (10.1) and steals (3.2) during his sophomore season, which was Magic’s debut season. He also averaged over 15.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
He was selected to four All-Star teams throughout his eight-year NBA career, was named to two All-Defensive First Teams, and led the league in thefts and assists three times out of those eight years.
NBA Draft: His NBA Career Ended In 1986
His professional life Due to a violation of the league’s drug policy, his NBA career ended in 1986 while he was playing for the New York Nets and averaging 20p/5.5r/8a/3s and 16/5.5/7.2/2.7 in his last two seasons.
Richardson’s guaranteed Hall of Fame career came to an end in 1986 when David Stern permanently banned him from the NBA. But that didn’t stop him from going down in history.
He took his skills to Europe and Canada over the years, where he received several awards, including Tier-I titles in Italy, Croatia, and Canada, in addition to other individual honours.
He even rose to the position of head coach in the CBA and NBL, guiding his squad to four titles. Therefore, the legendary career that was cut short in the United States did gradually develop that reputation while travelling throughout the globe.
It Was Just That Day That Micheal Ray Richardson’s Life Changed
Richardson tested positive for cocaine a third time on that day, making him the first player to receive a suspension under the NBA’s anti-drug policy, which was put in place in September 1983.
With the fourth overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, the New York Knickerbockers took a chance on a 6’5″ scoring point guard out of the University of Montana. Others had very high opinions of Richardson’s basketball skills, despite some mystery surrounding the Knicks’ pick. He was immediately referred to as “the next Walt Frazier.”
He was previously referred to as the world’s best player by Larry Bird. Micheal Ray was compared to himself by Magic Johnson. Isiah Thomas claimed that he was the only player of whom he was “afraid.” However, it’s likely that you are unaware of Sugar.
When Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson recorded 38 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 9 steals in a single game in 1985, he nearly joined the select group of athletes who have achieved a quadruple-double. Richardson is unfortunate in that more “nearly” and “should of/would of/could of” statements have been made about him than virtually any other NBA player in history.