In October 1997, Micheal Ray Richardson got a ticket through the NBA for the McDonald's Open, a preseason event in Paris featuring the Chicago Bulls.
Richardson, a four-time All-Star guard with the Knicks and the Nets, had been banned for life by the NBA in 1986 for repeated drug use. Richardson then went on to play in Italy, Croatia, Israel and France before he retired as a player in 2001.
That day 15 years ago Richardson had something he wanted to say to NBA commissioner David Stern, who was in Paris to see the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. Richardson had been sober at the time since the late 1980s, and that has continued to this day.
"I sat next to him and I told him that he saved my life," Richardson, who eventually was reinstated but never did play again in the NBA, said Thursday in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida. "His eyes just lit up. Here was the guy that had ended my career, but I did not hold any grudges. Ever since then, we've had a relationship."