clearn.png
Monday August 19th, 2019 5:59AM
5:38AM ( 21 minutes ago ) Weather Alert

Passing Grade: Point guards go to head of Hoops Hall class

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Lefty Driesell had the crowd laughing. Dino Radja fought back tears. Blue Devils and Tar Heels brought their rivalry to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Ray Allen made a peace offering to his spurned Celtics teammates.

And they did it with an assist from three of the greatest point guards in NBA history.

The Springfield shrine inducted its 13-member Class of 2018 on Friday night, recognizing the players, coaches and contributors who broke records and barriers in equal measure.

Rick Welts, the NBA's first openly gay executive, went in along with Charlie Scott, the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship at North Carolina. Ora Mae Washington was honored for a pre-World War II career in which she won 11 consecutive Women's Colored Basketball Championships. Tina Thompson was the first-ever draft pick in the WNBA.

Also inducted were New York Liberty coach Katie Smith, the leading scorer in women's professional basketball history; longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn; and Grant Hill, the first Duke player in the Hall.

"It's a real honor to go in with all of you guys," said Steve Nash, who was inducted along with fellow point guards Jason Kidd and Maurice Cheeks.

"I was never even supposed to be here," said Nash, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Canada and went on to win back-to-back NBA MVP awards. "Play the long game. You don't have to be the chosen one. If you're patient, the plateaus will become springboards."

Allen gave a shoutout to Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, calling the 2008 NBA championship teammates "future Hall of Famers"; both posted congratulatory messages on social media, a thaw in the relationships that have been icy since he left Boston for Miami to chase another title in 2012.

But Allen spent most of his speech describing a life "repeating those boring old habits" that made him the most prolific 3-point shooter in league history.

"What's so incredible about it is that I loved it," he said. "I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else in the world."

Kidd trudged up the steps into Springfield's Symphony Hall carrying a baby stroller. Nash carried his son in his arm. Dikembe Mutombo stopped to take a selfie with Julius Erving and Kyrie Irving. Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki made their way up the red carpet. Larry Bird was a late arrival.

Wayne Gretzky showed up in the video introducing Nash, crediting him with spreading the love of basketball across the hockey-loving country.

"From Vancouver to Newfoundland," the hockey Hall of Famer said, "he gave them the opening and belief that they could play in the NBA."

Welts was a pioneer of a different sort.

The Golden State Warriors President and COO, who started in the NBA as a Seattle SuperSonics ballboy, read a letter that he wrote to his 10-year-old self, telling the boy he will have his dream job by 24. But risking it to come out as gay in 2011 "will be the most important thing you ever do."

Radja, a champion in three different European leagues and two-time Olympic silver medalist, said he cried for 10 days when he learned he would be inducted in the Hall and choked up as he began his speech.

"Playing basketball was easier," he said.

Cheeks also struggled to hold back tears, at one point breaking down until his presenter, Dr. J., stepped forward to console him.

"Charles (Barkley) told me not to cry, but I'm about to talk about my mother right here," Cheeks said, calling her "My very first coach, Mama Cheeks."

Driesell's meandering speech was such a crowd-pleaser that every time he stopped to ask if his time was up, the crowd shouted back: "No!"

Scott followed Driesell and Hill and said if the Duke guys were going to go over their time limit, the Carolina guy can, too.

"Duke and a short speech is an oxymoron," said Scott, who broke the color barrier in Chapel Hill and brought the Tar Heels to back-to-back Final Fours before winning the 1976 NBA title in Boston. "I am very proud to be standing here as a black man that took a patch that wasn't easy, but was the right path to take."

Thorn played eight years in the league, coached in both the NBA and the ABA and has been in basketball for half a century. But he knows it was the selection of Michael Jordan when Thorn was the Chicago Bulls general manager in 1984 that cemented his place in basketball lore.

"Thank you, Michael, for your friendship," Thorn said. "I know I wouldn't have a Wikipedia page without you."

___

For more AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Sports - NBA, AP Sports - WNBA
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Death toll rises, flights resume, power back in Japan quake
Japanese rescue workers and troops are searching for the missing for a third straight day in a northern Japan hamlet buried by landslides from a powerful earthquake
12:04AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Jewell Loyd scores 23, Storm beat Mystics 89-76 in Game 1
Jewell Loyd made 9 of 12 shots and scored 23 points, league MVP Breanna Stewart added 20 points, and the Seattle Storm beat the Washington Mystics 89-76 in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Friday night
11:59PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Neymer, Firmino lead Brazil over US 2-0 in exhibition
Neymar and Roberto Firmino scored first-half goals, and Brazil overwhelmed the United States 2-0 before a sparse crowd of 32,469 at MetLife Stadium
11:44PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Passing Grade: Point guards go to head of Hoops Hall class
Record-breakers, barrier-breakers enter Basketball Hall of Fame
11:32PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Eye got it: Orioles pitcher hit playing catch with football
Baltimore Orioles pitcher David Hess won't miss a scheduled start after being hit in the eye while playing catch with a football
11:29PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Shohei Ohtani homers again, Angels beat White Sox 5-2
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani homered for the third straight game after learning he will probably need Tommy John surgery, launching a three-run shot to cap the Los Angeles Angels' four-run third inning in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox
11:23PM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP Sports
Senate begins final day of Supreme Court nominee hearings
The final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has begun, with lawmakers expected to hear from more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination fight
12:48PM ( 11 hours ago )
Kavanaugh avoids major missteps, closing 2 days of testimony
Senators at the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh plan to return for a final hearing day with more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination fight
5:43AM ( 18 hours ago )
Unwanted by Australia, refugees on Nauru have few options
More than 600 refugees, including about 120 children and teenagers, have been stuck on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru for nearly five years
1:08AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Women celebrate size inclusivity at alternative fashion week
Women of size celebrate inclusivity at an alternative fashion week, The Curvy Con
11:39PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Miss America contestant: Trump 'caused a lot of division'
A contestant in the Miss America pageant says President Trump "has caused a lot of division" in the nation
10:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump has 4 or 5 suspects for op-ed writer
President Donald Trump says he can identify up to five people who could have written the anonymous New York Times opinion piece criticizing his leadership
9:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Ex-Cowboys running back Joseph Randle facing rape charge
Troubled former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested on suspicion of rape
2:59PM ( 9 hours ago )
Vince Vaughn charged with DUI, failing to comply with police
Vince Vaughn has been charged with drunken driving stemming from June 10 arrest
2:10PM ( 10 hours ago )
Vince Vaugh charged with DUI, failing to comply with police
Vince Vaughn has been charged with drunken driving
2:07PM ( 10 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Amway founder and Magic owner Richard DeVos dies at age 92
Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway and owner of the Orlando Magic, has died
5:27PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Isaiah Thomas says Franklin 'shifted the world'
The Latest: Former NBA star Isaiah Thomas eulogized Aretha Franklin as someone who offered her advice and friendship and someone who "shifted the universe."
5:04PM ( 1 week ago )
NBA player J.R. Smith charged with breaking fan's phone
NBA player J.R. Smith has been accused of breaking the cellphone of a fan who tried to take video of him in the middle of the night on a New York City street
4:13PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Top women's college players practicing with Team USA
USA Basketball and coach Dawn Staley turn to college basketball's best women's players to get national team ready for World Cup play this month
4:30PM ( 2 days ago )
Sue Bird's big 4th quarter leads Storm past Mercury 94-84
Sue Bird scored 14 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter, and the Seattle Storm advanced to the WNBA Finals for the third time in franchise history rallying for a 94-84 win over the Phoenix Mercury in Game 5 on Tuesday night
10:17AM ( 2 days ago )
Storm and Mystics to meet in WNBA Finals
Elena Delle Donne has the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, where they'll face Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm
3:42AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - WNBA
Death toll rises, flights resume, power back in Japan quake
Japanese rescue workers and troops are searching for the missing for a third straight day in a northern Japan hamlet buried by landslides from a powerful earthquake
12:04AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Jewell Loyd scores 23, Storm beat Mystics 89-76 in Game 1
Jewell Loyd made 9 of 12 shots and scored 23 points, league MVP Breanna Stewart added 20 points, and the Seattle Storm beat the Washington Mystics 89-76 in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Friday night
11:59PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Neymer, Firmino lead Brazil over US 2-0 in exhibition
Neymar and Roberto Firmino scored first-half goals, and Brazil overwhelmed the United States 2-0 before a sparse crowd of 32,469 at MetLife Stadium
11:44PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Women celebrate size inclusivity at alternative fashion week
Women of size celebrate inclusivity at an alternative fashion week, The Curvy Con
11:39PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Obama issues scathing critique of Trump, 'politics of fear'
Former President Barack Obama has issued a scorching critique of his successor, blasting President Donald Trump's policies and his pattern of pressuring the Justice Department
11:35PM ( 41 minutes ago )