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NBA Saturday: 2013′s Hall of Fame Inductees
Posted By Joel Brigham On September 7, 2013 @ 6:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
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Hall of Fame Inductees To Be Honored This Weekend
The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA is an undeniably cool place. No matter how you feel about the way they induct players, coaches and other contributors of the game, the fact is that all the people who undeniably deserve to be there are there. Sure, there are snubs, but even without Jo Jo White and Jack Sikma gracing the inside of the Hall’s hallowed dome, it’s still a pretty overwhelming collection of NBA legends.
This weekend, 12 more men and women will be added to that pool of legends. It’s not necessarily something players and coaches set out to achieve the way they would, say, a championship, but once they retire it’s a five-year waiting game to see if they’ll be recognized as one of the game’s greats.
For 2013, the new inductees include four coaches, six players, and a couple of pretty big-time contributors, some of which are very recognizable, and others that casual fans may never have heard of. Whether they’re household names or long forgotten, here are some quick blurbs on the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees:
Gary Payton, Point Guard, Seattle SuperSonics
The biggest no-brainer of the class, Payton is a first-ballot inductee with an impressive resume that includes nine All-Star appearances and nine All-Defensive First Team nominations. He’s also the only point guard to have ever been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. Payton played in a couple of NBA Finals and won a ring with the HEAT in 2006, and he’s fourth all-time in career steals, clearly one of the best defensive players at his position in the history of the game.
Bernard King, Small Forward, New York Knicks
Were it not for injuries, King likely would’ve been admitted into the Hall much sooner than this, but at some point a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA first teamer who once averaged 32.9 points over a single season could not be left off the ticket. The guy was from Brooklyn and was given the opportunity to rock Madison Square Garden in the ‘80s, and boy did he ever. He didn’t play his whole career there, but he’s best known for his time as a Knickerbocker. Without question, he’s one of the franchise’s best scorers and most beloved players.
Roger Brown, Guard/Forward, Indiana Pacers (ABA)
It’s easy to think of Reggie Miller as the greatest Indiana Pacers player of all time, but before the team came to the NBA, there was Roger Brown and his three-time ABA champion Pacers. Under his leadership, the team won it all in 1970, 1972 and 1973. Brown was a four-time ABA All-Star, one-time All-ABA first teamer and ABA record-holder for most consecutive field goals (21) and single-game ABA Finals scoring (53 points). Long after he retired, he continued to give back to the Indianapolis community as a philanthropist and city councilman.
Richie Guerin, Guard, New York Knicks
A classic example of a great player in his era whose name has just been lost to time, Guerin was one of the best scorers of his era. He was the first Knick to score 2,000 points in a season and also led the team in assists for five consecutive seasons. Not surprisingly, he was named an All-Star six times in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and he would later coach the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks for nine years, earning a Coach of the Year nod in 1968.
Oscar Schmidt, Guard/Forward, Brazil
Just like Josh Gibson is the unofficial all-time home run king in the game of baseball, Schmidt is the unofficial all-time leading scorer in the game of basketball. Between club and national team play, Schmidt scored almost 50,000 points over the course of his career. To put that in perspective, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored “only” 38,387 points over the course of his own NBA career. Schmidt also had the longest career of any basketball player ever, playing 29 years for various Brazilian, Italian and Spanish clubs.
Dawn Staley, Guard, Charlotte Sting
Easily one of the toughest and most talented women’s basketball players ever, Staley is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the WNBA’s top 15 players ever. She was an All-Star in that league five times after being named the National College Player of the Year twice in the early ‘90s. She’s the only player in the history of women’s college basketball to score 2,000 points, dish out 700 assists and grab 400 steals. Since retiring from playing, Staley has coached for Temple University and the University of South Carolina, also serving as an assistant for Team USA.
Rick Pitino, Coach, University of Kentucky/University of Louisville
Once Pitino won his second NCAA National Championship, this time with the University of Louisville, he solidified himself as one of the greatest coaches the college game has ever seen. (He was named a Finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2012, but did not get in; apparently one championship wasn’t enough). Not counting John Calipari’s vacated tournament wins, Pitino is the only NCAA head coach to make the Final Four with three different teams, and he’s the only head coach to ever win championships with two different college programs. As long as we pretend like he never coached the Boston Celtics, Pitino is without question one of the best coaches to have ever graced a sideline.
Jerry Tarkanian, Coach, UNLV
Tark the Shark finished his NCAA coaching career with a 729-201 record, and that .784 winning percentage puts him fifth all-time in college hoops. He won 20 or more games in each of his first 12 seasons coaching college basketball, which is the second-best 20-win streak to start a career, behind only Ohio State’s Thad Matta. Throw in his other non-NCAA wins and his career total stretches to almost 1,000. He took UNLV to the Final Four on four separate occasions and even won the 1990 championship. One of the most emotional coaches the college game has ever seen, Tarkanian was also one of the best.
Guy V. Lewis, Coach, University of Houston
Not only did Lewis play his college basketball at the University of Houston, he ended up an assistant coach there a mere six years after graduating. Within three years of taking that post, he’d be promoted to head coach, a position he’d keep for the next 30 years. In those three decades, he led the Cougars to five NCAA Final Four appearances and was named National Coach of the Year twice, 15 years apart. His teams suffered some crushing defeats, including that iconic last-second loss in the 1983 NCAA championship, but to have done so much for so long at one school is clearly impressive. It’s no wonder he’s finally getting his shot at the Hall at age 91.
Sylvia Hatchell, Coach, University of North Carolina
Only three Division I women’s coaches have won 900 games over the courses of their careers, and Hatchell is one of them. She’s also the only women’s coach to have won national championships at the AIAW, NAIA and NCAA levels, and with three Final Four appearances and a National Championship under her belt, she’s got more than enough to prove her worth as a Hall-of-Famer.
Russ Granik, Deputy Commissioner, NBA
To fully document Granik’s influence on the league would take more than a quick paragraph, but some of his highlights over three decades serving the NBA include helping to expand the game to the global phenomenon it is today, negotiating everything the league had to negotiate between 1980 and 2005 and getting professional players into the 1992 Olympic Games. He was an integral part of the NBA league office for so long that it’s safe to say that much of what the game has become today was in some way influenced by Granik. Plus, he was the Hall of Fame’s Chairman as recently as 2007, but it’s not like he needed the hook-up on this thing.
Dr. E.B. Henderson, Contributor, “The Grandfather of Black Basketball”
It’s hard to imagine today’s NBA without black players, but thanks in large part to Henderson, many of the league’s top players are now, and have been for years, African-American. Henderson learned the game at Harvard in 1904 and brought it back to Washington D.C., teaching it to his black students. He would go on to form the Interscholastic Athletic Association, which was the first all-black athletic conference. He also coached for years, and later in his life worked as a civil rights activist.
The 2013 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will take place this Sunday, September 8 at 2 p.m. ET on NBA TV. Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees, and for those who missed the cut: there’s always next year!
Flip Saunders Hires A New General Manager
After making all the summer’s major personnel moves essentially on his own, Minnesota Timberwolves team president Flip Saunders has added some help for the ride forward by hiring former Washington Wizards vice president of player personnel Milt Newton.
Word of the hire leaked about a week ago, but the team made it official on Friday, releasing a statement explaining the decision to add Milton to the executive staff.
“I have followed Milt closely during his career and have always been impressed with his basketball knowledge, work ethic and professionalism,” Saunders said in the statement. “His front-office experience in the NBA, as well as his ability to combine analytics evaluation with his basketball playing and scouting background will greatly benefit our organization.”
Saunders and Newton worked together in Washington when Saunders was the head coach there, but Newton has a pretty interesting hoops resume that includes time with the NBA Development League and 10 years with the Wizards as someone who helped with draft prep and cap-related things.
“Milt possesses an extraordinary skill set that is a great fit for the Timberwolves organization,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement issued by the Wolves. “His exceptional work ethic and basketball acumen played a large role in the launch and success of the NBA Development League. I am extremely pleased for Milt and the Timberwolves who will no doubt benefit from the tremendous experience he brings to their front office.”
In the 10 years since Newton first took the job with the Wizards, the Timberwolves have not reached the playoffs. That’s what he and Saunders will work toward in their new partnership, and getting Kevin Love back healthy should go a long ways toward making that happen in the 2013-14 season. The health and further development of Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio play big in the team’s plans, too.
However it shakes out, Saunders seems confident he’s found the right guy to help build a perennial playoff contender in Minneapolis.
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