On Saturday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that three of the NBA’s all-time international greats, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, and Pau Gasol, will join Dwyane Wade, Becky Hammon, and Gregg Popovich as the headliners of the 2023 class. The initiation ceremonies for this class will take place on August 11 and 12, 2023, in Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively.
On the ESPN simulcast of the announcement in Houston, Dwyane Wade referred to the location as “basketball heaven.”
Also receiving a call from the Hall of Fame was former North Carolina State head coach Jim Valvano, who led the United States to the championship in 1976. Olympic women’s basketball team, former Purdue coach Gene Keady, former Texas A&M women’s coach Gary Blair, longtime coach at Division III Amherst David Hixon, and Gene Bess, who won 1,300 games as a junior college coach at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Olympic women’s basketball team. Former Purdue coach Gene Keady. Former Texas A&M women’s coach Gary Blair. Gene Bess.
The chairman of the Hall of Fame, Jerry Colangelo, broke the good news to the newly inducted members earlier in the week. Most of the new members joined Colangelo and other Hall of Famers on Friday for a welcome dinner. The new members took their first public bows as basketball royalty on Saturday.
According to comments made by Colangelo to the Associated Press, “this class represents truly, in every sense, what the game is all about and where it is.” “This class does not only represent all levels of basketball,” he said. Consider all of the potential candidates, for example. Germany, Spain, and France are the three nations that are here to represent their countries. This demonstrates how far the game has come and where it currently stands. It is the most singular class ever offered, and that assertion encompasses much ground. It stands on its own as an example of its singularity.
The four NBA players, Nowitzki, Parker, Gasol, and Wade, combined for 95,092 points, 39 All-Star appearances, and ten championships in the National Basketball Association. Hammon is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces, the defending champions of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
And Popovich? The only other things he has accomplished are winning five NBA titles, more games than anybody else in the league’s history, and an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in 2021.
“He’s terrific,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who played for Popovich and then coached under him with USA Basketball in the 2019 World Cup and then at the Tokyo Olympians. Popovich coached USA Basketball at the 2019 World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics. The induction into the Hall of Fame was merely a formality. Everyone was aware that he would be present there. It was only a matter of time before it happened.”
The long-held notion was that Popovich demanded the induction of a select group of players into the Hall of Fame before he would even consider putting his name forward. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were required to enter the league first, and Popovich also attempted to persuade Houston head coach Rudy Tomjanovich to take the job. The pairing of Popovich and Parker seems natural, and Popovich has been singing the praises of Hammon’s ability for a long time.
“If I’m being completely candid, I’ve always had the impression that the Hall of Fame is similar to what it was for Red Holzman, Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. “… If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve never really felt like I was a part of anything,” Popovich remarked. “I am not attempting to play ‘Mr. or anything else you like. I’m a guy that plays in Division III. I’m not someone who gets into the Hall of Fame.
It is the most recent honor bestowed upon Gasol, who has been a leading figure in Spain for many years and won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside his close buddy Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki, a German great who changed the game with his combination of big-man size and guard skills, spent his entire 21-year career in Dallas and is currently sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nowitzki is credited with changing the game with his ability to combine big-man size and guard skills. Parker and Popovich were victorious in the competition for four rings in San Antonio.
Wade was a part of Miami’s three championship teams. The jersey numbers of five former Heat players, including Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, have been retired at the arena in which the Heat play. In addition, the five of them are now connected because they are all Hall of Fame members.
In the same vein as Parker, Nowitzki, Gasol, and Popovich, Dwyane Wade was voted in on the very first ballot.
Pat Riley, the president of the Heat, was quoted as saying, “To me, it is a no-brainer that all of these guys are first-ballot guys.” “Have a look at the documents. Please look at the time they’ve spent competing in this league. Look at what they’ve done for the league and how often the league calls them back: that’s because they’re ambassadors for this great league, and they have a wonderful voice and a wonderful message. It was a foregone conclusion that Dwyane Wade would be on the first ballot.
After receiving their jackets and Hall of Fame rings on August 11 in Uncasville, Connecticut, the class will travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 12 for the ceremony and deliver their acceptance speeches.
“If I’m being completely honest with you, it’s always been humiliating to think about,” Popovich remarked. “More than anything else, it results from a fortunate coincidence. How much responsibility should I take for the fact that serendipity led me here?“