Joining Yardley in the current class are Rick Adelman, Gilbert Arenas, Joe Caldwell, Baron Davis, Nancy Dunkle, Gail Goodrich, Dennis Johnson, Steve Kerr, Raymond Lewis, David Meyers, Reggie Miller, Harold Miner, Anita Ortega, Byron Scott, Linda K. Sharp, Reggie Theus, Tina Thompson, Sidney Wicks and John Williams.
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Justin Kubatko: Devin Booker last night: ✅ 36 PTS ✅ 5 REB ✅ 8 AST It was Booker’s 16th career game with at least 35p/5r/5a, twice as many as any other player in @Phoenix Suns history (Gail Goodrich, 8). pic.twitter.com/oQjFf1qIjR
More than three decades later, some details of the classic slam dunk contest showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins are a bit fuzzy to Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich. One of five judges for the competition, the former Los Angeles Lakers’ great is, however, certain of a few things: His Airness soared to a slightly higher level than the Human Highlight Reel, there was no pressure to crown Jordan the slam dunk king on his home court and the judges were not in cahoots. “It was very, very close,” Goodrich said of the competition. “They both performed with excellence. I thought that Michael performed just a little bit ahead of Dominique. I cast my vote for Michael.”
TBS broadcasters Bob Neal, Rick Barry and Steve Jones questioned the judging at the end, with a laughing Jones even half-joking: “Note was passed on to the judges.” Goodrich, however, insisted there was no thumb on the scale favouring Jordan, no pressure from the league. “No, absolutely none,” he said. “Nor did, as judges, we confer with one-another. Not at all.”
Goodrich couldn’t recall the thinking behind how individual dunks were scored or how he got picked to judge. He was part of a panel with former NBA players Randy Smith, “Jumpin’” Johnny Green and Tommy Hawkins as well as Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers.
In the midst of Haywood’s legendary NBA and ABA career, he played in 34 games for the New Orleans Jazz during the 1978-79 season. The Jazz acquired him from the New York Knicks midway through the year for Joe Meriweather. He averaged 24.0 points and 9.6 rebounds on 49.7 percent shooting, but the squad finished 26-56. “That was awesome,” Haywood recalled. “It was just great because I was with one of my heroes Elgin Baylor who was the coach and playing with “Pistol Pete” Maravich and Gail Goodrich was one of my dreams. That was some pretty cool stuff.”
The Lakers honored Baylor with a video tribute featuring former teammates, fellow Laker legends and notable adversaries, including West, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Pat Riley, Bill Russell, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Gail Goodrich and Walt Frazier. “Before there was Dr. J [Julius Erving] and a guy named Michael Jordan, there was Elgin Baylor,” Magic Johnson said in the tribute.