How Mullin gained perspective after overcoming alcohol abuse

  • Programming Note: Catch an excerpt of Chris Mullin’s interview Wednesday during “Warriors Postgame Live” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Opening up about substance abuse can be difficult, but it often provides a perspective that could help others who are facing a similar battle, which is why Warriors Hall of Famer Chris Mullin revealed his fight with alcohol abuse. 

Mullin arrived in the Bay Area when Golden State selected the New York native in the 1985 NBA Draft. The St. John's standout came to the Warriors organization in his early 20s while trying to navigate his professional career. 

As a result, Mullin shared on a recent episode of "Headstrong: Mental Health and Sports" that he relied on alcohol to cope with the loneliness and feeling uncomfortable with himself. 

"So here I was, a young kid, 21, 22, making good money, playing a sport that I love, and I found myself not happy," Mullin said. 

"It was a period of denial, trying to numb my feelings, trying to act like everything was okay until I couldn't do any more, until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. And that meant that I had a problem, asked for help and surrendered."

Mullin then checked into an alcohol rehabilitation program in Dec. of 1987, leading the former Warriors star to receive the help he needed to navigate his battle while in the program and for years to come. 

"I felt way more open, less concerned about what people thought about me and more focused on living a good life that particular day," Mullins added. 

"And to me, it was the support and the love and the education I received, not only for rehab but, most importantly, the program and being able to have those meetings, stay in touch with other people like me and feel good about that and not feel alone."


One of the ways that Mullin chose to remind himself of where he was at that point in his life was with a simple haircut after staying in the Bay Area for the offseason to continue his workout routine. 

"After that season finished, I stayed in town to work out and maintain my routine on and off the court," Mullins said. "And a buddy of mine in Alameda said, 'Why don't you get this haircut?' and summertime, it didn't really matter to me, so I said, 'Yeah, I'll do it.' And I've had it ever since.

"It definitely is something that kind of brings me back to where I was. So obviously it's a little bit more than the way it looks. It doesn't look too good, but there's a lot more meaning to me and my family, and I've kept it ever since, much like staying with the program each and every day, something over time; I just I'm comfortable with."

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By checking into the program, Mullin might have saved his career, as the former Warriors star went on to play 14 more seasons in the NBA. 

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