During the 1970s and 80s, Steve Mix served a critical role on many 76ers teams that competed for the NBA title. Years later, he would rejoin the organization as a member of the club’s television broadcast crew. On this edition of Coat Check, Delaware Blue Coats announcer Matt Murphy and Coats Ambassador of Basketball Joe Richmond catch up with ‘The Mayor.’ Below are a few excerpts in our Q&A format.
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Q: What is your connection to the NBA G League, formerly the D-League?
A: It was interesting. What I ended up doing, back in 1990 or ’92 — tells you how old I am — Tony DiLeo came to me and asked me if I wanted to go around the league and be their big man coach. So I was able to go around that year and try to develop the big guys in the D-League. There were some guys that I was able to help that made it into the NBA. You talk to them, you show them things, you work with them, but you’re only there for a short period of time. But I thought I was pretty successful at doing that and showing the big guys what was necessary to get that next level up.
Q: You briefly played in the CBA (Continental Basketball Association). For those who don’t know, where did you play and what was it like?
A: It was a weekend tournament. So, you would play on Fridays and Saturdays, or Saturdays and Sundays. If we won the game, I got $105. If we lost the game, I got $85. So, I was working really hard for 20 bucks.
In that league, I was playing for a team called the Grand Rapids Tackers. The owner owned a carpet company, so obviously, [we were called] the ‘Tackers.’ George Gervin was in that league and he averaged about 48, 49 [points] per game for half the season before he ended up going to Virginia. A guy out of Michigan by the name of Dennis Stewart averaged about 40. Dennis was on my team. I averaged about 38 or 40, and our point guard averaged about 22. So, the three of us averaged almost 100 points per game. But that was where I went to develop my jump shot. That was my main goal. Let’s develop an outside game, which I was able to do that year.
Q: What was it like seeing all of the euphoria that [76ers teammate] Dr. J — Julius Erving — brought to the NBA?
A: Well, we ended up — because of Doc — we ended up being kind of like a rock group. There were tons of people that followed us. And then you had Darryl [Dawkins] and you had World [B. Free]. People were wanting to get to the game early just to see our layup line, see everybody dunk the basketball. It was crazy. You had fans everywhere. Every NBA city, there were fans that were cheering for you. Except for Boston. Boston never cheered for you, except when we beat them in the seventh game and they said ‘Beat LA.’
Q: What was your favorite road city during your NBA playing career, or as a broadcaster?
A: West coast, normally. I liked San Francisco because we would generally have a day off and I could get a car and drive up to Napa, see some friends and have a good time up there. You get on the east coast in January and February, you know Boston, New York, not that exciting. Cleveland, Detroit, not that exciting. L.A. was always a lot of fun and so was San Francisco. I had a lot of friends out in the Phoenix area in those days, too. It was always good to get into the sunshine during the season, go see some friends and go out to dinner with them.
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