Micheal Ray Richardson spoke publicly for the...

Micheal Ray Richardson spoke publicly for the first time after undergoing drug rehabilitation at a California hospital.

"I was aware every day for two years that I wanted to use drugs," said Richardson, after practicing with the New Jersey Nets for the first time since dropping from sight in December. "It is a day-by-day thing. Sometimes every five minutes. Sometimes every minute.

"When I first realized what I had done, when I got up the next day (after using drugs and missing the Nets' home game on Dec. 28), I didn't do anything but be aware of what I had done. I was frustrated and angry at myself.

"When I felt I could try to get up enough courage to face up to it, I finally called. I wasn't worried about my career. I was worried about me as a person. Whether I play or not is important, but I want to live, too."

Richardson will be forced to undergo mandatory drug counseling once a week and must also visit Cocaine Anonymous weekly. He is under the direction of the NBA and not the Nets in this portion of his recovery.

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