Charlotte Hornets

Former Chicago Bull takes shot at Golden State, but not Kevin Durant

Sports celebrities, golfers gather to benefit HoopTee Celebrity Golf Classic

Golf event, in 14th year, is fundraiser for HoopTee Charities
Up Next
Golf event, in 14th year, is fundraiser for HoopTee Charities

Ron Harper can’t blame Kevin Durant for joining a better team in the Golden State Warriors because, well, he did the same thing.

The former 15-year NBA guard had nine years in the league (like Durant) before signing with the Chicago Bulls in 1994 in hopes of getting that elusive ring. By the end of his career, Harper had five.

“When I had nine years, like Kevin Durant, I felt like I wanted to win a championship too,” said Harper Thursday morning at the HoopTee Celebrity Golf Classic. “I found a way to get to the Chicago Bulls. After you score enough and did enough, all the money in the world doesn’t mean you had a great career. You want to validate your career. And, he wants to validate his career with a championship. I can respect that because I was there before.”

Golf event, in 14th year, is fundraiser for HoopTee Charities

A former No. 8 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 1986, Harper spent nine years in Cleveland and with the Clippers averaging more than 19 points per game. As the Bulls re-tooled following Michael Jordan’s first retirement, Harper signed to play with one of the East’s best teams in hopes of making his first NBA Finals.

But that also came with a reduced role. He would average less than 8 points per game in his five seasons with the Bulls, but he earned three rings with Chicago and was on what is considered by many to be the greatest team of all-time.

The 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10 and won the championship, but last season’s Golden State Warriors bested the regular-season record by one win before losing the Finals in seven games to the Cavaliers.

“Let me see,” Harper said, “73-9 sounds good, but 72-10 has a ring to it.”

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

Related stories from Charlotte Observer