NBA Rumor: Hall of Fame Selections

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Erik Spoelstra: Pat Riley is on the Mount Rushmore of executives... he should be in the Hall of Fame as an executive too

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“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.”

Julius Erving: 'Ja Morant is going to be a future Hall of Famer'

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

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

David Stern inducted into Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

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.

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.

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.

Paul Pierce inducted into Hall of Fame

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

“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.”

2020 Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony delayed to 2021

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.

“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.”

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. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻



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.”


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