Four-time NBA all-star Michael Ray Richardson has been announced as the head coach of the London Lightning, London's first professional basketball team. The Lightning will compete in the new National Basketball League of Canada, which features seven teams: the Halifax Rainmen, the Quebec Kebs, the Saint John Mill Rats, the Oshawa Power, The Island PEI, the Moncton Miracles and the London Lightning.

Lightning General Manager Taylor Brown and Owner Vito Frijia welcomed Richardson to the city at a press conference on August 23. When hiring someone, Frijia said he looks for "work ethic, character, honesty and smarts. (Richardson) has all four. If he didn't, he wouldn't be here."

Richardson, who was drafted fourth overall by the New York Knicks in 1978, has had a long and successful career, both as a player and a coach. "When I first talked to (Frijia), he was looking for a guy who knows how to win, and I told him right away, he's got the right guy," said Richardson. "After being in the minor leagues for five years, being in the championship for five years and winning the last three, I think I know what I'm doing."

Richardson said he plans to bring six players from his last three championship teams to the Lightning. "I'm going to be one step ahead of everybody, so you can believe it's going to be a great year."

The first game is scheduled for November 3 at the John Labatt Centre, the official home of the Lightning, against the Halifax Rainmen. The Lightning will play 18 home games in the regular season for 2011/2012. Visit nblcanada. ca for more information on the league and the full season schedule.