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.”
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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
Dane Moore: Statement from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Kevin Garnett’s induction to the Hall of Fame: pic.twitter.com/LxdDhFyD1i
Mark Berman: Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon) on Rudy Tomjanovich joining him in @Hoophall: “It’s no question it’s well-deserved.I’m very, very happy it finally came true.I’ve been hoping it would happen for a long time. What he has done for the game of basketball speaks for itself. I’m proud of him”
Mark Berman: Clyde Drexler on Rudy Tomjanovich joining him in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (@Hoophall): “Finally, Rudy T gets in the Hall of Fame. He gets his just due as a coach. He could’ve been in as a player as well. He was a phenomenal player. Rudy’s a great guy…” pic.twitter.com/CWfnAsFPlM
Marc Stein: Kobe Bryant is officially a Hall of Fame
Tim Reynolds: Tamika Catchings. Hall of Famer.
Shams Charania: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball @Hoophall Class of 2020, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Formal announcements will be made on Saturday.
Mark Berman: Wow! NBA sources: Former #Rockets Coach Rudy Tomjanovich elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Some may double-take when they realize Hardaway isn’t in, as one of the league’s most decorated and feared players during the ’90s, but he isn’t and doesn’t feel like his time will ever come. “It would be great, solidify my career,” Hardaway said in a candid conversation with Yahoo Sports. “[But] I’m not gonna beg for nothing. I’ve never begged for nothing in my life.”
He was a five-time All-Star, making the All-NBA Second Team three times, and the first and third teams once each. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Stan Van Gundy told Yahoo Sports. “There’s a few guys who haven’t gotten in yet but will get in … but the only guys who haven’t gotten in are Tim, Ben Wallace and Kevin Johnson. Five times, All-NBA? Top 15 in the NBA and for Tim, top 10? That’s really high-level stuff. That’s being the best of the best for long periods of time and that’s generally what they look at. How were you in your era?”
“Alonzo [Mourning] got in the Hall and that’s great, but Tim was our best player. A lot of people would tell you in Golden State, Richmond and Mullin got in, and numerous basketball people tell me Tim was their best player. I’m not saying those other guys don’t belong there, they do. I’m just saying Tim belongs with them.”
This plan is subject to change as we, like many others in the sports and entertainment industry, will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely in the coming weeks. As a reminder, our museum in Springfield remains closed until May 1st.
Chris Bosh: How to Deal With Dissapointment I’m not gonna lie and I’ll get right to it, I’m disappointed I won’t be in the HOF this year, especially with this amazing class of players I have looked up to throughout my career. BUT sometimes things don’t work out the way you want, and you HAVE to move on. You can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself or blaming other people.
To keep the list short this time, the direct-elect categories that send one person each straight to the Hall – no finalist round for them – have been suspended. That includes the men’s and women’s veterans committees, the early African-American committee and the contributor committee. The exception this year is the international committee, which still will select a Hall of Famer to be announced with the actual Class of 2020 at the NCAA men’s Final Four April 4 in Atlanta. Said Colangelo: “Because of the enormity, even before Kobe’s death, we think Kobe and Duncan and Garnett bring to [this] … we’ve never had a class that strong at the top. And then with Kobe’s death, it added more focus.”
The upside of waiting? Not to get “lost in the shuffle,” as Colangelo described it. “Sad as it all is, we have to deal with that,” Colangelo said. “And life does go on in the world of basketball and the Hall of Fame. We don’t want to take away from the people here who are prospective inductees.” Asked if the 2020 ceremony in Springfield might be different as well from recent editions, the Hall chairman said: “Let’s put it this way: There’s a great sensitivity as a result, and so that leads to probably a little bit different than in the past. But it’s going to be done the right way.”
In one of the most anticipated Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame classes in years, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan headline the finalists up for induction in August. The finalists were announced on Friday at NBA All-Star Weekend, and Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said they kept the class small this year because of the magnitude of the players who are expected to reach the Hall. Colangelo said that was the plan before Kobe Bryant’s death.
“When we met in Dallas after his death, we had to deal with that, and the way we dealt (with) it is that we weren’t going to submit a lot of names,” Colangelo said. “We were going to make it a small class. We want everyone to get their due, and that’s important and sensitive.”
To keep the class small, the Hall of Fame has suspended three direct election categories – Men’s and Women’s Veterans Committees, the Early African American Pioneer Committee, and the Contributor Committee – for one year. The International Committee will still induct a direct-elect candidate.
Chris Bosh will not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Bosh, 35, was not one of the eight finalists named Friday at All-Star Weekend in Chicago for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Bosh still has time to get into the Hall of Fame and he’s expected to get inducted at some point, but 2020 marked the first year he was eligible for consideration after his playing career came to an end in 2016.
Mark Berman: Rudy Tomjanovich is once again a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (@HoopHall): “It’s always an honor. I’m touched and moved by it. Always hope for the best.”
Jonathan Feigen: Tomjanovich, Bill Russell and K.C. Jones are the only coaches to have won more than one championship (excluding active coaches Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich) to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Jones and Russell are in as players.
Stefan Bondy: Class of 2020 Hall of Fame finalists: Tim Duncan Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Kim Mulkey Rudy Tomjanovich Barbara Stevens Eddie Sutton Tamika Catchings
Tim Reynolds: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal going in as Gowdy winners as well in a new category — Transformative Media. And Jim Gray goes in as well, in another new Gowdy category: The Insight Media Award.
Tim Reynolds: This year’s Curt Gowdy Media Award winners by the Basketball Hall of Fame: print journalist Michael Wilbon, who spent three decades at the Washington Post.
Shams Charania: Kobe Bryant will be a first-ballot enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020. “Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett,” HOF chairman Jerry Colangelo says. “Kobe will be honored the way he should be.”
Durant, one of the best players in NBA history, says Williams is a Hall of Famer: “I mean Lou Will’s probably the No. 1 guy. I feel like he’s a Hall of Famer,” Durant told Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the Knuckle Heads Podcast. “Yeah, I feel like he’s of those guys that is a culture-changer as far as like setting the lane for NBA players, you know? Being that undersized, 6’2, 6’3.”
Gary Washburn: 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame Class could include: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett & Gregg Popovich. Pop would have already been elected but refused consideration. He apparently told HOF he would accept consideration once Duncan was eligible. Well… #Spurs #Celtics #Lakers
Metta, who made the NBA all-defensive team 4 times and was an All-American in college, said it’s not just him who believe he’s one of the best ever … some of the best ever believe it too. “When you get Reggie Miller saying, ‘He’s the best defender ever.’ You get Kobe saying, ‘He’s the best defender ever on the wing.’ Michael Jordan [praised me] early on in my career, it’s documented.” Despite all that love, Metta says people don’t want him enshrined … and he knows why. “A lot of people don’t wanna see me in that Hall of Fame. I never really was afraid to speak my mind. I never submitted to being that corporate person. I never gave a f*ck. So, It’s gonna be hard to get in.”
TMZ Sports spoke with future Hall of Famer Lou Williams on Tuesday night … and yeah, you read that correctly … ’cause the L.A. Clippers star says he’s deserving of a spot in Springfield!!! We spoke with the 2-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner at the Ethika pop-up shop in L.A. on Tuesday night … and asked if he’s done enough to join the game’s best players in the Hall if he’s named the league’s best bench player again. “Yeah, I’ve seen guys in the Hall of Fame with less. I’ve put the work in,” the 14-year NBA veteran tells us.
Vlade Divac got the Hall call Saturday as the international committee’s selection for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. Is it only a matter of time for Toni Kukoc? “I definitely think he deserves it,” longtime teammate and Class of 2010 Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen said. “He was a huge piece for us. You look at the game today, teams have the Big Three now. Toni was a part of that puzzle for us. He was productive and deserves a lot of credit for our success.”
Kukoc, who was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017, has been a finalist for enshrinement in Springfield, Mass., twice. “I’ve seen some things go on in the Hall of Fame that really have been a little bit shocking,” Pippen said. “I’ve seen some guys get in where I think Toni and Ron (Harper) definitely had a lot better career than those guys. I think they’re getting a little bit of a knock-back because they were part of a team with me and Michael (Jordan). But those guys are winners. “It was a great journey to play my career alongside Toni, even though he came over as one of the enemies. We grew together and had a lot of success and a lot of fun.”
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June 23, 2021 | 5:32 am EDT Update
Sullivan is the author of “Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow,” which released on Tuesday. In a conversation with our friends from Celtics Wire on their podcast, Celtics Lab, Sullivan said that Nets ownership was unhappy with Irving over his midseason “pause,” and that Irving could be available for the right offer.
Matt Sullivan: “Let me give you guys a little news, I’m not sure that’s been out there. I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s ‘pause,’ especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings – whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason. Now, I’m not sure what the market for Kyrie is at this point. It’s not like Ben Simmons giving you the headache on the court. It’s that complex personality that comes from off the court. I think it’s been annoying some people in the franchise. I can’t speak to his teammates, who obviously want to play with one of the world’s best and get him back there.”
Deandre Ayton couldn’t stop smiling after the Phoenix Suns’ 104-103 win on Tuesday gave them a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals over the LA Clippers. The big man wore a permagrin as he basked in the joy that came from dunking home the go-ahead bucket in the game’s final second, finishing one of the most dramatic alley-oops in NBA playoff history, but he didn’t want any of the credit. “I’ll start off by saying that’s definitely Jae [Crowder’s] game winner, making a great pass for a 7-footer,” Ayton said after his dunk with 0.7 seconds left lifted his final line to 24 points on 12-for-15 shooting and 14 rebounds.
No wonder Ayton said he completed the best play of his three-year NBA career after finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds and one memorable lob that gave the Suns a 2-0 series lead. “I never played so hard from the jump ball to the end, 150%,” Ayton said. “Usually it’s like 110%, but tonight it’s 150% and it’s 150% mentally. Just the level of focus and the things you have to really pay attention to, it’s really intense.”
And the production has been eye-popping. Per Elias Sports Bureau research, this postseason Ayton is the first player in the shot clock era (since 1954-55) with a 70% or better field goal percentage in any 12-game postseason span. He has had five 20-point, 10-rebound games this postseason, the most by a Suns player since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2007. “I’ve never played so hard from the jump ball to the end,” Ayton said. “A hundred and fifty percent. Usually, it’s like 110, but this is 150%. And it’s 150% mentally, too. Just the level of focus and the things you really have to pay attention to. It’s really intense, man.”
The cloud of the 2018 draft doesn’t follow Ayton. He has admitted in the past to being sensitive to perception and criticism, but put all of it behind him. “At the end of the day, we’re all different players,” Ayton said of comparisons to Doncic and Young. “I’m a 7-footer, big man, and they’re two point guards. I don’t know what you can compare. But me, I play as hard as I can. This is my team. I dominate the best way I can for this team and try to take this team as far as I can. Other than that, I trust my work, I trust my work ethic, I trust my craft.”
But with a chance to give them a three-point lead with 8.2 seconds left, George surprisingly missed both free throws despite coming into this game making 89.2% from the free throw line this postseason. “I’m not going to put too much on that,” George said afterward. “Obviously it was an opportunity that was missed. Pat made an unbelievable play that put me in position to extend the lead. I’m always confident at the free throw line. I’ve always been very successful in clutch moments at the free throw line.”