Pat Riley has already earned enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says his longtime boss belongs in even more exclusive company. “Pat is on the Mount Rushmore of executives,” Spoelstra said Thursday in advance of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. “He should always be in that consideration, every single year. Because he kind of sets the blueprint and he’s been able to do it so many different times. And then do it when people think that you can’t.”
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He also appreciated the fact that James Jones, who runs basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns — and spent six years playing for the Heat — finished fourth in the voting. “How many guys has Pat mentored?” Spoelstra said. “Coaching and front office. I’m in there all the time where somebody will be calling him about advice. And Pat, they don’t have recognition like this, but if they ever did, he easily could be Hall of Fame in both — as a coach in this league and as an executive on its own. That’s how good he is.”
“Pat’s a visionary,” Spoelstra said. “He’s a force of nature. He has 50 years of experience in this league at the highest level. And has had as much success in this league as anyone. He has a blueprint, he has a way of making things happen, but he’s also adapted and adjusted. You don’t have this kind of success if you haven’t adapted over the years. I think that’s one of the things that gets overlooked a lot. He’s reinvented how we do it and how we put together teams, over and over and over, depending on the era.”
As you watch this season, are there any teams or players catching your attention? Julius Erving: Yeah, Memphis, man. I think Ja Morant is going to be a future Hall of Famer. He can easily be a Hall of Famer and maybe even an MVP. I think he’s in the discussion already. You have Nikola Jokic. You’ve got Joel in there. Luka Doncic. You have Giannis. You have Ja. Those are my top five guys right now in terms of the things required to be an MVP. Steph Curry was there before he got hurt. Then there is Devin Booker. Don’t forget Devin Booker! Don’t sleep on him because his team has the best record in the league, and part of the criteria is team success.
Sirius XM NBA: Long time coach Del Harris will be inducted to @Hoophall later this year. He tells @Rick Kamla he’s grateful to be included with the other great names in his class. pic.twitter.com/0SJDZWoSzW
Mike Finger: Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, in his second (or third) language, on the 2014 title he called his NBA highlight: “Not only was it joyful, it was therapeutic. It alleviated those aches.” Later raves about “the everyday tranquility we achieved.” Missed this guy so much.
Paul Garcia: “I wasn’t the number 1 pick, I was 57th.” – Manu on when he initially arrived in San Antonio not knowing how long he’d be on the team since 2nd round picks don’t usually have long careers in the NBA. He says he’s thrilled he ended up staying in San Antonio for 16 years
Michael Scotto: Manu Ginobili: “I never won a scoring championship, an MVP, even First Team. I’m here because of my surroundings. The players I played with, the coaches, and the organization. I don’t take it as an individual achievement. I’ve been in the right place at the right time.” pic.twitter.com/Co1KzliSZU
Marc Stein: Longtime NBA coach Del Harris has been chosen alongside George Karl for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The 13-member @Hoophall class for 2022 includes former NBA stars Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway and Lou Hudson, coaches George Karl, Del Harris and Larry Costello, longtime referee Hugh Evans and WNBA stars Swin Cash and Lindsay Whalen.
Ira Winderman: Spoelstra on Tim Hardaway making Basketball Hall of Fame, “Really thrilled for him. It’s been along process for him.”
George Karl: It’s the greatest honor of my career to be elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Basketball has meant everything to me and I’m thrilled beyond words. 🙏🏼🏀
Shams Charania: George Karl, the NBA’s sixth-winningest head coach ever, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball @Hoophall Class of 2022, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: San Antonio Spurs icon Manu Ginobili will be a first-ballot induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame @Hoophall Class of 2022, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: WNBA legend Swin Cash – a four-time All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist – will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame @Hoophall Class of 2022, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Cash is currently part of the New Orleans Pelicans front office.
Monte Poole. Sources: Warriors legend Tim Hardaway – the catalyst during the brief Run-TMC era – will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Richly deserving. Joins teammates Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond.
Howard Beck: Finalists for the Naismith @Hoophall of Fame, Class of 2022: Leta Andrews Swin Cash Michael Cooper Hugh Evans Manu Ginobili Tim Hardaway Bob Huggins Marques Johnson George Karl Marianne Stanley Lindsay Whalen
According to the 53-year-old, Jordan and he agreed on a presentation process a long time ago. That was when Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Per Kukoc, both athletes were playing golf, and Toni asked Michael whether he would like to be the presenter if Kukoc ever enter the HOF. Then Jordan interrupted Kukoc and promised that he would be the one to take Toni into the House. Many years have passed. When Kukoc found out that this would happen, he sent Jordan a message asking if that promise was worth it. MJ replied with a short message: “If I promised you, then you know there is no problem.”
“If Michael and Scottie hadn’t played in my position, I believe, I would have been a much bigger star. When I came to the club before Jordan came back, there were games when I scored up to 30 points each,” spoke the Croatian.
Nine teams passed on Paul Pierce in the 1998 NBA draft, and if you think he doesn’t remember each and every one of them, then you don’t know Paul Pierce. The newly inducted Basketball Hall of Famer called out by name — in order — the teams with the first nine picks that year and thanked them for allowing him to slip to the Boston Celtics. “I appreciate that. Thank you for passing on me. It added fuel to my fire,” Pierce, who had been expected to go as high as No. 2 overall, said in his acceptance speech in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday night. “To this day, I don’t understand how I slipped to No. 10. But you know, everything happened for a reason. Going to the Celtics, I’m grateful.”
“I honestly thought Danny was going to trade me,” Pierce said. “He came in and traded everybody. He traded Antonie and I was like, ‘Man, it’s over for me.’ But y’all stuck with me.” Pierce was eventually traded from the Celtics to the Nets, but that blockbuster deal wasn’t until 2013. The treasure trove of draft picks and pick swaps are still the foundational pieces of the Celtics of present day.
“For me, as a coach, any time I see the guys I’ve coached, like Ben Wallace (go into the Hall), it’s great,” Doc Rivers, Pierce’s coach in Boston when the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 finals, said Saturday. “But especially Paul. Championship guy. He went through a lot in his career. He’s gone through so much stuff.”
Doc Rivers (Celtics coach, 2004-13): When I first got there, we had a major falling out. I said, “Paul, are you a good shooter, or a great shooter?” He said, “I’m a great shooter.” I said, “Well, then you’re taking bad shots.” We come in, and I told him, “Paul, you’ve got to move the ball. Every time the ball hits your hand it stops, and that allows the defense to guard you. All I want you to do is move it, quickly, then come back to it and attack. And if you do that, then your percentage is going to go up. Because now the defense can’t load up on you.” But he wouldn’t do it, early on.
Bosh, whose playing career was cut short after 13 seasons because of a series of medical issues related to blood clots, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts, as part of the 2021 class. “Legends aren’t defined by their successes,” Bosh said during his 17-minute induction speech with his wife, Adrienne, and five children watching on. “They’re defined by how they bounce back from their failures, and that’s what I hope to communicate to anyone watching this, especially the kids. When you look back at my career, when you visit Springfield and see my plaque, it’s going to seem inevitable that I ended up here.
“When I met Pat during free agency he pulled out every trick and it was quite the performance,” Bosh recalled. “As I was starting to stand up to leave from the meeting, he pulled out one last trick. He took out this velvet bag full of championship rings and dumped them all across the table and he picked one up and he looked me dead in my eye and he said, ‘You give it back to me when we win one together.’ “Now when I think about it, it was crazy because I hadn’t even agreed to sign with Miami. But that’s Pat. We did win a ring together, two of them. But I never gave back the one he loaned me because for whatever reason, I wanted to wait until the right moment and I figured this would be a good moment.”
Wallace was emotional and poetic in describing his upbringing as an undersized big man who carved out a role on defense, winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times. “Basketball was not my life. Basketball was just in my life. I took basketball and I created a path for those who helped me,” he said. “I took. I received. I gave back. I laid a path. I laid a track. It should be easy to find; I was stuck in it for quite some time.”
Bill Russell, who was inducted as a player in 1975, was honored for his coaching career; he is the fifth person to be inducted as both a player and a coach. But to former President Barack Obama, his greatest role was what he accomplished off the court during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “Bill Russell, perhaps more than anyone else, knows what it takes to win and what it takes to lead,” Obama said in a video. “As tall as Bill Russell stands, his example and his legacy rise far, far higher.”
“I will be forever known as the first undrafted player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but hopefully I’m not the only,” Wallace says. “We have been doing it with a little or no help, but the spotlight is on HBCUs.”
Two months later, with Dandridge attending a few playoff games alongside other members from the 1970-71 title team, Milwaukee won the club’s first championship in 50 years. “Most of my history has been in Milwaukee,” Dandridge said. “For me to go into the Hall of Fame at the same time they win the championship after 50 years, everything has just sort of lined up for me personally.”
“One question I always asked Kareem was, ‘Why did he leave me in Milwaukee?’ ” Dandridge said. “His reply always was, ‘There was only one plane ticket.’ “
ESPN: What was it like to find out you were going to be in the Hall of Fame, and how difficult was the eight-year wait? Chris Webber: I always thought that I would be blessed enough, lucky enough, to be a Hall of Famer. I thought the résumé showed that, but no one is entitled to that. So every year [I didn’t get in] it would hurt, and the main focus that I focused on was [to not] focus on who went in the Hall of Fame that year. For a while, it was keeping blinders on. Don’t think about it, stay into work.
ESPN: What role do you think you have played in influencing that next generation of the versatile big man on court, players who can shoot, dribble, be playmakers? Chris Webber: I think when you talk about big men who were versatile, it was Magic Johnson. That first came to me. Of course, Connie Hawkins. Of course, Mr. Finger Roll, Mr. Ice [George Gervin]. But when you looked at like a 6-9 guy … When I was in high school, they wouldn’t let the big guy be in the middle for 3-on-2 drills. And I remember fighting and asking, you know, could I be in 3-on-2 drills or playing with the guards, playing 21 where I had to shoot outside and the guards had to shoot inside. Once I saw Steve Smith and Derrick Coleman — in my opinion, Steve, with the [hesitation move], and him being seven foot, Derrick, being probably [in the] top four most versatile powerful forwards to this day. I just studied the game, man. I just wanted to be [one of] the greats.
Pierce’s longtime agent, Jeff Schwartz, suggested Pierce apologize anyway. Schwartz worried that the video might influence Hall voters. Pierce didn’t. “Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” says Pierce. “These motherf—–s in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], f—ing battery. What the f— did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherf—–s do the same s—. You’re just hiding it. And you all are married while you’re doing it. I’m divorced. I’m retired. I’m having fun.” And if Hall voters had held it against him? “Listen,” says Pierce, “if I didn’t make it with this class, it would be the biggest stiff job in Hall of Fame history.”
What David Stern did for the sport of basketball transcended any gender bias and opened a whole new world for women in the game. NBA commissioner from 1984 to 2014, Stern was the key figure in the formation and operation of the WNBA in 1997. That bold move paved the way for Stern, who died Jan. 1, 2020, to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Stern was joined in the induction class by former players Tamika Catchings, Swin Cash, Lauren Jackson and Debbie Brock, along with contributors Carol Callan, Sue Donohoe and Carol Stiff.
“The WNBA was my father’s baby,” said Eric Stern, representing his father. “It was something he had to fight for. He had to spend a lot of professional capital, and even some personal capital, to make it happen. “There were a lot of doubters. He tended to enjoy conflict and didn’t mind it at all. He did a lot of civil rights work as he was growing up. He had a strong conviction toward equity and equality.”
Kukoc participated in the Zenni Eyecon Q&A with Bally Sports Network’s NBA analyst, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. On where he was when he heard the news that he was going to be inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame 2021 Class… Kukoc: I was actually in Split, Croatia. I was home. I actually haven’t seen my parents in 2 years so I thought it was time as soon as I could travel to go see them. So the great news found me in Croatia. It was actually Mr. Jerry Reinsdorf who called me and he said like, “Listen. I gotta tell you something and it’s VERY important and you’re going to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in September!” Obviously I was very excited and I told my parents right away and that was actually at night when I went to see my old team play. They were in the middle of the playoffs — Team Jugoplastika just split. They were my first team when I first started, so it all kind of overwhelmed me because walking into the arena and everything you can see pictures of me 17, 18, 19-years old playing for that team and to get that news over there, it was just phenomenal. It was SPECIAL.
Tom Orsborn: Pop on Rick Adelman getting voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball HOF as part of the Class of 2021: “Rick Adelman is in that same category as Rudy T. He deserves it. He’s been a great basketball guy for a very long time. He’s been a winner and just a wonderful coach.”
Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. That’s the general reaction to news that Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia is the first fan ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Bhatia is a familiar figure to basketball fans, a fixture at every Raptors home game in his courtside seats — the biggest cheerleader the team has ever had. On a whim, Bhatia bought two tickets to the team’s very first game back in 1995 and never looked back. He hasn’t missed a home game for the team’s entire existence.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Class: Players: Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace; Coaches: Rick Adelman, Jay Wright, Bill Russell. WNBA: Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson. International Committee: Toni Kukoc
Chris Bosh: Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has been on this journey with me. Basketball has been one of the greatest gifts allotted to me in this life. This honor is my legacy. Thank you @Hoophall, @nba + to every one of you that has supported me throughout my career. ☝🏿
Chicago Bulls: Toni Kukoc is headed to the Hall of Fame! #21HoopClass
Former NBA star Chris Webber has finally been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, several sources told ESPN’s The Undefeated. Webber will be announced as a member of the Class of 2021 along with Ben Wallace and Paul Pierce on Sunday, sources said.
Celtics great Paul Pierce, who played 15 years for Boston and is the franchise’s second all-time leading scorer, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told the Globe. Pierce, 43, led Boston to the 2008 NBA championship along with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who is being inducted into the Hall on Saturday as part of the 2020 class. Pierce will be part of the Hall’s 2021 class that will be announced Sunday morning.
Marc J. Spears: Ex-Detroit Pistons and HBCU Virginia Union star Ben Wallace will be inducted into the Class of 2021 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a source told @TheUndefeated. The 2004 NBA champion was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time All-Star.
HoopsHype: Chris Webber should be a Hall of Famer. Agree or Disagree? Hidayet Turkoglu: That shouldn’t be a debate.
Jonathan Feigen: Should be a strong class if voters get it right. Chris Webber and Chris Bosh return as finalists along with Paul Pierce, Tim Hardaway, Marques Johnson, Lauren Jackson, Ben Wallace, Marianne Stanley, Yolanda Griffith, Jay Wright, Michael Cooper and Bill Russell (as coach.)
The Jump: “People forget how much Chris Bosh carried those Raptors teams. He was a force then” – @Rjeff24 #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #21HoopClass #WeTheNorth
The Jump: “I’ve reflected on my career since I stopped playing” – @Chris Bosh #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #21HoopClass
The Jump: “To be just considered for just a great honor, it’s amazing” – @Chris Bosh #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #21HoopClass
Richard Jefferson on Gilbert Arenas’ HoF odds: “I’m not saying you don’t have a chance, I’m just saying that you’re never ever getting into the Hall of Fame.” 😄
Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will finally enter the Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2021. The NBA said Saturday that the delayed Hall of Fame weekend — it was to have taken place in Springfield, Massachusetts in August, before being pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic — will be held from May 13-15.
ESPN Stats: James Harden has won his third consecutive scoring title. 6 of the other 7 players to win as many as three straight scoring titles have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The lone exception is Kevin Durant (2009-12) who is still active.
A star-studded Class of 2020, including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, will now be inducted in May at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday. The induction festivities are set for May 13-15, 2021. Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of governors for the Hall of Fame, previously told ESPN that the original dates of enshrinement weekend, Aug. 28-30, and the proposed alternate dates, Oct. 10-12, were “just not feasible” because of the coronavius pandemic.
CEO John Doleva told the Globe the Hall will decide this coming week whether to retain the Aug. 28-30 window, which will begin at Mohegan Sun and then return to Springfield for the induction. Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Tamika Catchings are among those in the class of 2020. Doleva said the Hall will move the ceremony from Symphony Hall (capacity 2,611), which has housed the event since 2009, to the MassMutual Center (capacity, 8,319), allowing patrons more room for social distancing. Doleva added alternate dates would be over the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-11, or in the spring of 2021. The Hall is not considering a combined ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021. “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
One major change for this ceremony is the reallowance of family members to speak live at the ceremony in the inductees’ honor. It’s uncertain whether Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, will speak at the ceremony, but the Hall will have a representative for Bryant speak on his behalf. In past years, the Hall changed its policy of allowing family members of posthumous inductees to speak live at the ceremony. Instead, they accepted the award with a taped video presentation. That will change this year.
Webber said he doesn’t worry about the Hall of Fame, and Rose agrees. “Webb shouldn’t spend a second worrying about that — it’s going to happen,” Rose said. “And also, it’s well deserved. And it’s the basketball Hall of Fame, so he’ll get in. He should get in solely on his impact with the Fab Five because the Fab Five should be in. If you just took his high school and his pro (career), he should be in.”
“No. 1, the NCAA doesn’t own (the) Fab Five — Isiah Thomas taught me this,” Rose said. “The same way the NBA doesn’t own (Detroit’s) Bad Boys, so if that was like ‘March Madness’ or ‘One Shining Moment,’ something that they owned, that’s something they would acknowledge and give love to. When you see highlights of teams going in and out of the commercials, they show teams that didn’t win the championship, so they could show us if they really wanted to. So that has to be a conscious decision, and that’s fine. It’ll happen, and it’s just like him going to the Hall of Fame; I believe it will happen.”
Count the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as the latest institution to have its best-laid plans felled by the coronavirus. Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of the governors for the Hall, told ESPN on Wednesday that enshrinement ceremonies for the Class of 2020, one of the most star-studded lineups ever which includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant, will be moved to spring of 2021.
Colangelo said the original dates of enshrinement weekend, Aug. 28-30, and the proposed alternate dates of Oct. 10-12 are “just not feasible” in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 100,000 in the U.S. and has rendered large gatherings taboo. The board of governors will convene on June 10, he said, to explore spring dates.
“We’re definitely canceling,” Colangelo said. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We’ll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”
Colangelo stressed there will be separate ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, even though both events will now be held in the calendar year 2021. “We won’t be combining them,” he said. “The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration.”
Enshrinement is scheduled for Aug. 29, but the Hall of Fame in Massachusets is looking at potentially pushing back that date if large gatherings are not yet allowed, reports Gary Washburn at the Boston Globe. They are considering pushing the date back to mid-October or potentially into next spring if necessary.
Hall of Fame CEO John Doleva emphasized they are not just going to roll this class into the 2021 class (which has yet to be elected). “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
“I’ve had conversations with people and I think Webb is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer,” said Doug Christie, Webber’s teammate in Sacramento. “Period. That’s where I stand.” Webber has been eligible for induction since 2013, and after not being enshrined last year, he isn’t bothered by the situation. “The first few years I did, but I know I am one,” Webber told The Athletic last July. “That’s the way I’ve got to treat it and be thankful for the blessings I’ve got.”
“Webb was willing to sacrifice in a lot of ways and that allowed Peja (Stojakovic) to grow,” Christie said. “That allowed me to grow, that allowed Bobby (Jackson) to grow, that allowed Vlade to grow, with his unselfishness with the passing. “You’ve got (Arvydas) Sabonis, you’ve got Vlade, Webb is right there, and Bill Walton, when you talk about the greatest big men passers of all time. The touch on the passes, the creativity, the sight, the timeliness, also the unselfishness. Sometimes it’s a wide-open jump shot and he’d see somebody cutting by and he just hits them and they get a layup. It just keeps the game free. Also, his ability to communicate on the floor I thought was underrated.”
“I think the legacy I left for the game is there. But who is it to decide? Who is making the decisions? What do they base it off of. If you look at all the numbers, to me, I should be a shoo-in. Should I not?” Marion asked. “What am I supposed to do? What am I not supposed to do? It’s out of my control. I know it’s a political thing. It’s a lot more other stuff going on. But certain things, you earn that. I earned that.”
Kevin Love: Just reflecting on the 2020 HOF class and missing the game. Tim Duncan — Best Power Forward Ever. Being in the Western Conference my first 6 years, we had a lot of battles. He gave me my welcome to the NBA moment 4 games into my rookie season. Having that experience and watching Tony Parker drop 55 on us was a lot for a fat white boy from suburban Oregon who turned 20 y/o only 2 months prior. As I’m writing this I’m just realizing it’s his birthday…so, HBD to the 15x All Star, 5 time Champion, 15x All NBA, 15x All Defensive, 2x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 97-98 Rookie of the Year. I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had in our league without learning from #21. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich on Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon)agreeing to be 1 of his presenters when Rudy is inducted @Hoophall: “It’s the right way, because he’s the reason I’m standing up there.If I don’t have Hakeem,does it happen? We don’t know,probably not.He was such a big part of my life”
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich says he spoke w/ Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon) today & Hakeem agreed to be 1 of his presenters when Rudy is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in August: “I asked him if he would do the presenting and he said ‘I would be honored.’ It’s the..” pic.twitter.com/L8PVWyAYer
Mark Berman: Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon) is thrilled Rudy Tomjanovich has asked him to be one of his presenters when Rudy is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: “I told him I feel so honored. It’s my honor that he thought of me. As you know our careers paralleled…” pic.twitter.com/p5JO3fA8hL
Mark Berman: Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon) on joining fellow Hall of Famer @CalvinMurphyHOF as presenters for Rudy Tomjanovich when Rudy is inducted into @Hoophall: “Those are two of my heroes. Close friends, teammates. To be able to share that platform with them, I feel very privileged.” #Rockets
Mark Medina: Rob Pelinka on Kobe Bryant officially getting the Hall of Fame nod: “It was a moment full of mixed emotions. All of us are heartbroken he couldn’t be there to receive that honor in person. But I have a level of confidence he is with us in spirit and is celebrating that.”
Yet despite all these credentials and then some, Toni Kukoc has yet to be named a Hall of Famer. This year was the third in a row that the Croatian great wasn’t inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after being among the nominees. “Honestly, it means a lot more to me that I played alongside Michael Jordan and won NBA titles,” Kukoc said in an interview with Croatian website tportal. “I have no influence in my induction into the Hall of Fame. People are asked to decide and I’d really like to know who these people are. It’s allegedly unknown who they are because they haven’t been presented publicly. I really don’t know whether or not I’ll ever enter the Hall of Fame. Would I like it? Of course, I would! Well, another year has passed but nothing happened.”
The former three-time champion with the Chicago Bulls said that he prefers to shift his attention to a passion that shares with former teammate Michael Jordan: Golfing. “After all, what am I going to say about myself? But if my former coaches, former teammates, and basketball experts say I am one of the top 3-4 European players of all time, what are we talking about? Maybe they all don’t know what they’re talking about? It doesn’t make sense to talk about that any more… You know, I would rather spend that energy playing an 18-hole golf course.”
To be going in with this vaunted class — with Kobe and Duncan — how special does that feel? It’s perhaps the most star-studded Hall of Fame ever. Kevin Garnett: The achievement itself is supremely over the top and the culmination of the things I’ve worked on, the countless hours you’ve put into a craft. It’s something special. The way I came in: Not going to college, taking a real bet on myself and betting on my work ethic and pushing myself night in and night out, being a professional and doing it the right way. Never taking shortcuts. Going hard as I can, you want to be able to look back on it and say that it was worth something. To meet Kobe early, we had a friendship and a real bond. To go up against Timmy and the countless battles, it’s just … I couldn’t put this story, with all the minor details … I couldn’t make this story more compelling than it already is. This is the perfect way to end a dope story.
You had a rivalry with Tim throughout your career, mostly because of the beast that was the Western Conference and the power forwards across the conference, including him, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber. How ironic is it now that you and Tim are going in together? Kevin Garnett: Yeah, man. In the sense of having a career, you never know how long it’s going to go. You don’t even know if you’re even going to have one. So to have one, and be pretty good at it and you can look back at accolades and won some things and most importantly, left your print on the game … Timmy, for me, him and Rasheed were always the pinnacle. They were always the more tougher matchup for me personally. Lot of times going into matchups, I had a lot of upside when I came in. I can say that these two were one of the difficult ones for me.
“He wanted to in the worst way,” said Colangelo, who was the managing director of USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team program at the time. “I put him on by saying, ‘Look, we may want you to do something else rather than score. We may need you to be the distributor’ and he kind of looked at me funny and we smiled and he said, ‘I’ll do whatever you want. I just want to be part of it.'” This was coming off the 2004 U.S. Olympic team winning just a bronze medal.
“We go to training camp in Vegas and he’s there two days early and is in the workout room at 5:30 in the morning working on his weights,” Colangelo recalls. “If you practice twice a day, that was his first workout before the two regular workouts. As players like Carmelo and LeBron, Wade and (Chris) Bosh and others, they saw that and they started going in that early. So he led by example.” Case in point. “The first day of scrimmage, he’s diving on the floor for a loose ball,” Colangelo said. Bryant scored 20 points in the 118-107 gold medal victory over Spain in Beijing, hitting clutch shots in the fourth quarter. “Had it not been for Wade and in particular, Kobe’s late-game heroics, we may not have won,” Colangelo said. “Spain played that well against us.”
“It’s the culmination,” Garnett told ESPN during Saturday’s broadcast. “It’s the culmination, man. You put countless hours into this. You dedicate yourself to a craft. You take no days off. You play through injuries. You play through demise. You play through obstacles. You give no excuses for anything. You learn, you build. “This is the culmination. All those hours … this is what you do it for, right here. For me, to be called a Hall of Famer, is everything.”
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich, in an interview with FOX 26 Sports: “You don’t know how you’re gonna feel. I know how I felt when I didn’t hear what we wanted to hear and it was disappointing. It didn’t ruin my life, but hearing that call, unbelievably the things that popped up into my head..” pic.twitter.com/8bSB6ynA5z
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich on ESPN: pic.twitter.com/64HgyPJzAR
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich on being a member of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: “It’s almost surreal..It’s almost a numbness that happened when we won the championships. It didn’t really sink in until I went to another state & I saw some highlights of us & oh my God,that’s us..” pic.twitter.com/vAGYMktjpE
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich on joining the best of the best in @Hoophall: “It’s just really awesome to think about those kind of things. I was such a fan of the game.When I was a kid we didn’t have much money and my mother would go to the second hand stores and get me all these yearbooks..” pic.twitter.com/FezRCnCLlM
Tim Reynolds: “Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate. But it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping-stone to be here. So we’re incredibly proud of him.” — Vanessa Bryant, on Kobe, via ESPN’s broadcast.
Bill Oram: Upon Kobe Bryant’s posthumous selection to the Hall of Fame, Jeanie Buss says “no one deserves it more.” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka: “Now a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats.” (via @Los Angeles Lakers) pic.twitter.com/9B0Gvzl3wq
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May 19, 2022 | 8:48 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Sources: J. Cole is signing contract with the Scarborough Shooting Stars (@sss_cebl) in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, the rap star’s second consecutive year playing professionally. CEBL training camp began this week, with season opener on May 26.