NBA All-Star (1980–1982, 1985)
NBA All-Defensive First Team
NBA All-Defensive First Team (1980, 1981)
3× NBA steals leader (1980, 1983, 1985)
NBA assists leader (1980)
Cup Winners' Cup (FIBA Saporta Cup) champion (1990)
FIBA Saporta Cup
FIBA Saporta Cup Finals Top Scorer (1990)
French League champion (1995)
2× Italian Cup winner (1989, 1990)
Croatian Cup winner (1992)
CBA champion (2008–2009)
NBL Canada champion
NBL Canada champion (2012–2013)
2× NBL Canada Coach of the Year (2012–2013)
PBL Coach of the Year
PBL Coach of the Year (2010)
Career NBA statistics
8,253 (14.8 ppg)
3,899 (7.0 apg)
1,463 (2.6 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Micheal "Sugar" Ray Richardson (born April 11, 1955) is an American
former professional basketball player and head coach. He most recently
was head coach of
London Lightning of the National
of Canada. Richardson played college basketball for the Montana
Grizzlies. He played in the National
Basketball Association (NBA) for
eight years, most notably for the
New York Knicks
New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.
1 NBA career
1.1 New York Knicks
1.2 Golden State Warriors
1.3 New Jersey Nets
1.4 Banned From the League
2 CBA & Europe career
2.1 Coaching in the CBA
2.1.1 2007 suspension
2.1.2 Oklahoma Cavalry
2.1.3 Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry
2.1.4 London Lightning
2.2 NBL coaching record
3 See also
5 External links
New York Knicks
Richardson was born in Lubbock, Texas. The
New York Knicks
New York Knicks drafted
him with the fourth overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, and he was
billed as "the next Walt Frazier." Two picks later, the Boston Celtics
drafted future Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird. In his second year,
Richardson became the third player in NBA history (1.
Slick Watts –
Don Buse – 1977) to lead the league in both assists
(10.1) and steals (3.2), setting Knicks franchise records in both
categories. He also recorded 18 triple-doubles, the second-most in
Golden State Warriors
At the beginning of the 1982–83 season, Richardson was traded to the
Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (along with a fifth-round draft choice) in
exchange for Bernard King. After playing only 33 games for the
Warriors, Richardson was traded to the
New Jersey Nets
New Jersey Nets in exchange for
Sleepy Floyd and Mickey Johnson.
New Jersey Nets
He would be named an all-star as a Net, playing on the Eastern
Conference all-star team said to have frozen out Michael Jordan. In
the 1984 playoffs, Richardson led the Nets to a shocking upset of the
defending champion Philadelphia 76ers. In the fifth and deciding game,
he scored 24 points and had six steals. While the Knicks showed mild
improvement after trading Richardson, that improvement was
short-lived, ending when King was felled by a devastating knee injury
midway through the 1984–85 season. Richardson wore Leather Converse
All Stars briefly with the New Jersey Nets, making him the last to
wear the shoe in any form in the NBA.
Banned From the League
In 1986, Richardson was banned for life by NBA commissioner David
Stern for violations of the league's drug policy. He regained the
right to play in the NBA in 1988., but decided to continue his
career in Europe. He never played in the NBA again, despite being
He bitterly complained that the suspensions he received from the NBA
were unfair given the fact that Chris Mullin was never disciplined by
the league for his well-documented alcohol problem, implying that this
"double standard" existed because Richardson is
Mullin is white, and became a frequently cited example of destructive
lifestyles in the NBA. He was the subject of the 2000 film Whatever
Happened to Micheal Ray?, a look at his troubled life narrated by
CBA & Europe career
Richardson went on to play a few seasons in the Continental Basketball
Association (CBA), and United States
Basketball League (USBL), as well
as 14 seasons in Europe. There, he signed with Virtus Bologna, a
prominent European team, in 1988, and he remained with the club for 3
seasons. With Virtus Bologna, he won the European-wide second-tier
level FIBA Cup Winners' Cup, in the 1989–90 season. In Italy, he
stayed 2 seasons (1992–1993 and following) in Baker Livorno, and 1
(1998–1999), in Montana Forlì. He also won the French League
championship with Olympique Antibes, in 1995.
Coaching in the CBA
On December 14, 2004, he was named head coach of the Albany Patroons
in the Continental
Basketball Association. This is Richardson's second
stint with the Patroons; he played for the team during the 1987–88
season, in which Albany won its second CBA championship.
On March 28, 2007, he was suspended for the rest of the CBA
championship series for his comments in an interview with the Albany
Times Union newspaper, in which he stated that
Jews were "crafty
(because) they are hated worldwide."
The paper also reported that he fired expletives at a heckler, using
profanity and an anti-gay slur, at Game 1 of the championship
Some sportswriters have come to Richardson's defense, in the wake of
the incident. Peter Vecsey questioned the Times Union's motives in not
releasing the audio recording of their exchange with Richardson.
Vecsey noted that during the course of his professional dealings with
Richardson, he found the player to be "so unsettled, so
unsophisticated and so pliable anybody could draw him into saying
anything about anything at any time". He also pointed out that
Richardson's second wife was Jewish, as was their daughter, Tamara,
something that would be unlikely for a true anti-Semite.
Christopher Isenberg, a Jewish writer who had earlier profiled
Richardson for the Village Voice also defended Richardson's
remarks about Jews, stating in a blog post entitled "
Jews for Micheal
"Micheal Ray is proud to have a Jewish lawyer because he thinks they
are the best lawyers. Certainly it's a stereotype, but it's a
stereotype rooted in a reality. A disproportionate number of the great
lawyers in America are Jews. A disproportionate number of the great
basketball players in America are black. We have learned to be very
careful around these facts because here the line between fact and
"stereotype" can get very blurry and if you're not careful, you can
get into deep water real quick. Micheal Ray was unwise to have been so
indiscreet around reporters, but it wasn't exactly Elders of Zion
David Stern also voiced support for Richardson. While
conceding that the remarks about homosexuals were "inappropriate and
insensitive" and worthy of a suspension, Stern also said, "I have no
doubt that Micheal Ray is not anti-Semitic. I know that he's not...He
may have exercised very poor judgment, but that does not reflect
Micheal Ray Richardson's feelings about Jews."
Zev Chafets, author of A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews,
Christian Zionists and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and
Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance, wrote in the Los Angeles Times
that Richardson's comments, while perhaps stereotypical, were not
anti-semitic. After discussing Richardson's claim that
"crafty", Chafets stated,
What other hurtful things did Richardson supposedly say? That Israel
has the best airport security in the world? This is both true and
something Israel itself brags about. That
Jews are hated and need to
protect themselves? That's the founding premise of the Anti-Defamation
League itself.... Richardson, who was a popular player in Israel
during his NBA exile years, is guilty of nothing more than free
speech. Even if his observations were wrong — which they are not —
there's nothing at all insulting about them. What is insulting is the
notion that you can't speak honestly about
Jews without getting into
On May 24, 2007, he was named head coach of the reincarnated Oklahoma
Cavalry of the Continental
On December 16, 2007 he was fired by the Cavalry.
Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry
Richardson later coached for Lawton-Ft Sill Cavalry located in Lawton,
Oklahoma, and he led his team to victory to the CBA Finals in 2008 and
2009 and in the PBL Finals in 2010.
Richardson was ejected from the first game of the 2010 Premiere
Basketball League Championship Series. The game took place at the Blue
Cross Arena on April 22, 2010, in Rochester NY. Richardson had been
given several warnings and a technical foul for berating and arguing
with referees in the game against two-time PBL Champion Rochester
RazorSharks. The ejection took place with under 3 seconds remaining in
the game that was eventually won by Rochester in overtime by a tally
of 110-106. The ejection led to a skirmish between fans and several
Lawton-Fort Sill players which ended the game with 2.6 seconds to go
on the clock and Rochester about to go to the free throw line.
On August 17, 2011, Richardson was announced as the first head coach
of the National
Basketball League of Canada's London Lightning.
Finding immediate success with the Lightning, Richardson was named the
NBL Canada's first ever Coach of the Month for November 2011, an award
he would win again in January 2012. The Lightning would go on to
finish the regular season at 28-8 and gain home-court advantage
throughout the playoffs.
On March 25, Richardson led the Lightning to a 116-92 victory over the
Halifax Rainmen in a deciding Game Five of the NBL Canada Finals to
win the NBL Canada's inaugural championship. After the game,
Richardson was named the NBL Canada Coach of the Year for
On April 12, 2013, Richardson led the Lightning to an 87-80 victory
over the Summerside Storm in PEI. The Lightning became back to back
Richardson left the Lightning following the 2013–14 season to pursue
coaching positions closer to home.
NBL coaching record
1st in Conference
Won NBL championship
1st in Conference
Won NBL championship
List of National
Basketball Association career steals leaders
List of National
Basketball Association players with 9 or more steals
in a game
^ "Lubbock, Texas". City-Data.com. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
^ "1975-76 NBA Season Summary". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2
^ "1976-77 NBA Season Summary". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2
^ "CBA Coach Makes Anti-Semitic Comments". The Washington Post.
Associated Press. March 28, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
^ CBA coach Richardson suspended for remarks, March 28, 2007
^ Time for this coach to sit out Archived 2008-02-14 at the Wayback
Machine., March 28, 2007
^ Vecsey, Peter. "Why All the Heat on Richardson? Archived 2007-09-29
at the Wayback Machine.", the New York Post, published March 30, 2007,
accessed April 2, 2007.
^ Isenberg, Christopher. "Sugar Ray Richardson's Ship Be Stayin'
Afloat in His New Life in Italy", the Village Voice, published
February 9, 2000, accessed April 2, 2007.
^ Isenberg, Christopher. "
Jews for Micheal Ray[permanent dead link]",
nomas-nyc.com, published March 29, 2007, accessed April 2, 2007.
^ Stein, Marc. "Stern: Sugar not Anti-Semitic, ESPN.com, published
March 30, 2007, accessed April 3, 2007.
^ Chafets, Zev. "He isn't an anti-Semite. He's right." Los Angeles
Times. 3 April 2007. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on
2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
^ Latzke, Jeff. "Richardson to coach Oklahoma City in CBA." Houston
Chronicle. 24 May 2007. 
^ Latzke, Jeff. "CAVALRY MAKE HEAD COACHING CHANGE" league press
release. 16 December 2007.
^ "Sports Democrat and Chronicle". democratandchronicle.com.
2010-04-23. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
^ nurun.com (2011-08-18). "Coach knows highs, lows The London Free
Press". Lfpress.com. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
^ "NBL Canada Coach Of The Month". National
Basketball League of
Canada. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved March
London Lightning Named First NBL Canada Champions". National
Basketball League of Canada. March 25, 2012. Archived from the
original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
^ Matisz, John. "
London Lightning capture second straight NBL title
Metro". Metronews.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
Micheal Ray Richardson and
London Lightning parting ways".
lfpress.com. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
FIBA EuroLeague Profile
Italian League Profile (in Italian)
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Head coach Micheal Ray Richardson
NBA season assists leaders
1971: Van Lier
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1978 NBA Draft
Micheal Ray Richardson