A fitting tribute to local hero Ex-NBA player Kevin Mullin grew up playing hoops in Wenonah. He now has a court named for him.

Posted: April 08, 2001

WENONAH — Kevin Mullin completed the circle yesterday.

Mullin, 38, returned to Wenonah, a tiny Gloucester County town, for a dedication ceremony in which a refurbished basketball court was named in his honor. Mullin developed his game on that same court and became a standout at Gateway High and Princeton before reaching the NBA and playing briefly with the Boston Celtics.

"I'm deeply honored and humbled," he said.

The court, through the work of the town council and the Wenonah Athletic Association, has undergone major improvements recently. New backboards were installed, the court was repaved, and landscaping and benches were added. A baby-blue sign was unveiled yesterday that said: "Kevin Mullin Court, Wenonah to the NBA."

"I spent many, many hours on this court. The lights would go out at 11 at night and we'd try to find a way to find light and keep playing," Mullin told the crowd.

Mullin, who now lives in Bucks County, graduated from Gateway in 1980. He also starred in tennis in high school, compiling a 98-2 record and becoming South Jersey's No.1 singles player. He carried a 4.0 grade-point average at Gateway.

"He's someone all our young athletes can look up to," said Mike Stranahan, the Wenonah Athletic Association president. Dozens of uniformed baseball and softball players, as part of their opening-day parade and festivities, sat near the basketball court to watch the dedication to Mullin.

Before playing for the Celtics and then in Europe, Mullin helped lead Princeton to three Ivy League titles. In the 1984 NCAA tournament, he averaged 28 points per game, which was the highest average of any player in that year's tourney - one that included Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Stranahan flipped Mullin a basketball at the end of yesterday's festivities and asked him to make a basket to christen the remodeled court. Mullin hit a couple of layups.

"Dunk! Dunk! Dunk!" chanted the young players, trying to urge the 6-foot-6 Mullin to throw down a slam.

Mullin, still trim after all these years, smiled and shook his head from side to side.

"I don't want to show off," he said.

Said Stranahan: "What Kevin means is, like the rest of us, he knows what it feels like to get old."

Sam Carchidi's e-mail address is scarchidi@phillynews.com.

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