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November 18, 1987

Former NBA All-Star Micheal Ray Richardson has signed a contract to play for the Albany, N.Y., Patroons of the Continental Basketball Assn., the team announced.

Richardson will be in uniform for the team's first game in Savannah, Ga., Thursday, team spokesman Bill Heller said.

The 6-foot 5-inch guard played for the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets before being banned from the National Basketball Assn. in 1986 for repeated drug use.

Richardson said he spoke with league commissioner Mike Storen on Sunday "and he was very honest with me." But Richardson would not say if the league insisted on any drug tests as part of his agreement to play.

"I'd rather not talk about drugs or my aftercare," Richardson said in a telephone interview.

Storen could not be reached for comment.

Richardson was the first NBA player banned for drug use. Richardson was suspended by the Nets after he disappeared in December 1985 and admitted on his return to a renewed drug use. He underwent treatment and was reinstated by the NBA, but was banished by NBA Commissioner David Stern after traces of cocaine were detected in a urinalysis.

He started his pro career with the Knicks and also played with the Golden State Warriors.

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