Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will induct 12 new members today; included will be players, an official, coaches, a team and an entrepreneur. The festivities begin at 7:30 PM EST today in Springfield, Mass.
The list includes the All-American Red Heads, first women’s professional basketball team; Ralph Sampson, NBA; Jamaal Wilkes, NBA; Hank Nichols, distinguished basketball official; Katrina McClain, USA National Team Member; Don Nelson, NBA coach; Reggie Miller, NBA. Direct Elects include Don Barksdale, Early African American Pioneers Committee; Lidia Alexeeva, International Committee; Chet Walker, Veterans Committee; Phil Knight, Contributor Direct Election Committee; Mel Daniels, American Basketball Association Committee.
“We are extremely honored to welcome this prestigious class of players, coaches, officials, teams and pioneers from the game of basketball into the Hall of Fame,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “This group represents a spectrum of individuals who made their mark in history and we look forward to honoring them in September for their contributions.”
To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Starting last year, the addition of the direct elect committees were incorporated into the election process to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting procedures and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball.
“The Class of 2012 is a true representation of the game of basketball, reaching all levels within the sport,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “We are pleased with the changes to the voting process by adding the direct elects and the impact it will make on recognizing the game’s true ambassadors into the future.”
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2012:
ALL AMERICAN RED HEADS [Team] — The All American Red Heads are known as the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters and the first women’s professional basketball team. The team regularly played more than 200 games per season, winning 70% of them while touring thousands of miles reaching 49 states, Canada and the Philippines. Over six decades (from 1936 to 1986), the team broke social barriers and stereotypes playing in small towns and rural hamlets, as well as Madison Square Garden and Chicago Stadium. Click here for the All American Red Heads history
KATRINA McCLAIN [Player] — McClain is one of the most decorated athletes in USA Basketball national team history, winning two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1996), Olympic Bronze (1992), three FIBA World Championship medals (gold in 1986 and 1990; bronze in 1994) and five more medals at the Goodwill Games, Pan Am Games and World University Games. She was named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 1988 and 1992. Before stepping onto the International stage, she was a two-time Kodak All-America (1986, 1987) and the 1987 WBCA National Player of the Year at the University of Georgia.
North American Committee
REGGIE MILLER [Player] — Miller was one of the greatest clutch scorers in NBA history, playing his entire 17-season NBA career with the Indiana Pacers finishing as the franchise’s all-time leader in points (25,279) and steals (1,505). He was a five-time NBA All-Star, three-time All-NBA Third Team selection and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996. From Los Angeles, he guided UCLA to the 1985 NIT Championship and finished third on the school’s all-time scoring list. He ranks second on the NBA all-time list for three-point field goals made (2,560) and attempted (6,486). He is ninth on the NBA career free-throw percentage list (.888) and seventh in career minutes played (47,619). In addition to some memorable NBA playoff performances, he has the most three-pointers made (320) in playoff history.
DON NELSON[Coach] — Nelson, the all-time winningest coach in NBA History with over 1,300 victories is one of only two coaches to be named NBA Coach of the Year three times (1983, 1985 and 1992). He spent over 40 years of his life as a player, coach, and general manager. He has led teams to 18 playoff appearances where he amassed 75 playoff wins and is one of only two NBA coaches to win 250 games with three different teams. In 2007, he led the Golden State Warriors to the first #8 seed upset over a #1 seed in a seven-game series when they defeated the Dallas Mavericks. He also coached Dream Team II to a gold medal in the 1994 World Championships. Nelson is the only coach with 1,000+ wins and multiple NBA championships as a player, where he won five titles with the Boston Celtics (1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976).
HANK NICHOLS [Referee] — Nichols focused his career in basketball around the rules of the game. A long-time NCAA basketball official who has refereed six national championship games, 10 final fours, three NIT Finals, and 13 ACC Championships — officiated at the top of collegiate basketball for decades. He officiated on the world stage officiating two Olympic games and one European championship. After his officiating career, he would become the national coordinator of officials for the NCAA for over 20 years and was instrumental in the progression of rule changes at the collegiate level and he remains one of the most influential rules architects in history.
RALPH SAMPSON [Player] — Sampson is one of the top collegiate players of all-time, where at Virginia he became only the third three-time National College Player of the Year. He was a three-time Naismith Award winner, two-time Wooden Award recipient and led the Cavaliers to the NIT Championship and one Final Four appearance. He was only the sixth player in NCAA history to collect 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds. In 1983, he was the No. 1 draft pick by the Houston Rockets. In the NBA, he was named to three NBA All-Star games, collected Rookie of the Year honors in 1984 and was named MVP of the 1985 NBA All-Star game.
JAMAAL WILKES [Player] — Wilkes, a California native, spent his entire high school, college and professional career in his home state, playing under Hall of Famer John Wooden at UCLA prior to a successful NBA career with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. At UCLA, he would win two National Championships and receive All-America honors in 1974. He was also a three-time GTE Academic All-America selection. In the NBA, he won four championships while reaching the NBA finals six times. He was a three-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Defensive second team and received Rookie of the Year honors in 1975.
LIDIA ALEXEEVA [Coach] — Alexeeva is one of the most successful coaches in International basketball history, highlighted by leading the Soviet Union National Team as head coach to gold medals in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games, four FIBA World Championship titles (1967, 1971, 1975, 1983), four World University Games gold medals, 10 European Championships and 17 USSR National Championships. She was undefeated in International play for over 17 years. She also coached Hall of Famer Uljana Semjonova. As a player, Alexeeva played on Soviet National Teams that won four European Championships (1950, 1952, 1954, 1956). She has also been enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (1999) and FIBA Hall of Fame (2007).
Direct Elect from the Early African-American Pioneers of the Game Committee
DON BARKSDALE [Contributor] — One of the true pioneers in the game of basketball, Barksdale broke the color barrier multiple times as the first African-American NCAA All-America, the first to make the U.S. Olympic team, and the first to play in an NBA All-Star game. Following his military service in World War II, Barksdale led UCLA to the Pacific Coast Conference championship and became the first African-American signed by an American Basketball League (ABL) team with the Oakland Bittners where he set the ABL scoring record in his debut season. Part of the 1948 Olympic team in London, he became the first-ever African-American to also win a gold medal in basketball. In 1951, he became one of the top 10 highest paid athletes with the Baltimore Bullets and was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics in 1953, where he became the first African-American player to be selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game. In 1983, he launched the Save High School Sports Foundation, which raised over 1 million dollars by the time he passed away in 1993 to save several Oakland school athletic programs from demise.
Direct Elect from the ABA Committee
MEL DANIELS [Player] — Daniels is one of the most dominating big men in the history of the American Basketball Association (ABA) as the league’s all-time leading rebounder (9,494) and fourth all-time leading scorer (11,739). A two-time league MVP in 1969 and 1971, he was a seven-time ABA All-Star and a member of three ABA championship teams with the Indiana Pacers, now of the NBA. He was selected as a member of the ABA 30-Man All-Time team. In college, Daniels starred for the University of New Mexico, leading the Lobos in scoring for three straight seasons and was the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player in 1967. He was drafted ninth in the 1967 NBA Draft but chose to go play in the ABA instead. Following his ABA Rookie of the Year award in 1968, he went on to earn All-ABA First Team four times and Second Team once. After his professional career, which concluded as a member of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, Daniels joined the coaching staff at Indiana State, where he coached future Hall of Famer Larry Bird. He was also a member of the Indiana Pacers front office for over 20 years.
Direct Elect from the Veterans Committee
CHET WALKER [Player] — Walker is widely known as one of the most athletic, skilled and resilient players in his era having missed only 21 games in his decorated 13-year NBA career. The seven-time NBA All-Star was also a member of the 1967 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers that is recognized as one of the greatest teams in history and ended the Boston Celtics run of eight straight titles. He went on to score 18,831 points and grab 7,314 rebounds in his career and was only the eighth player in NBA history to play more than 1,000 career games at the time of his retirement in 1975. As a member of the Chicago Bulls, he led the NBA in free throw percentage at .859 during the 1970-71 season. In college, Walker was a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 1962, leading Bradley to the NIT finals in back-to-back seasons, and winning the championship in 1960. He graduated as Bradley’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 24.4 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. He was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals and selected to the 1963 NBA All-Rookie Team.
Direct Elect from the Contributor Direct Election Committee
PHIL KNIGHT [Contributor] — One of the most significant contributors to the game of basketball, Knight, Nike’s co-founder, is currently the company’s Chairman of the Board. Under his guidance, Nike became the first sports brand to work with elite athletes to garner their insights to create the most innovative products. In basketball, Knight worked to create one of the company’s most iconic partnerships with Michael Jordan. He has had a long history of working with other basketball greats like Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Dirk Nowitzki to Coach K and C. Vivian Stringer. Knight also signed Sheryl Swoopes as the first woman to have her own signature basketball shoe. His company now supports NBA stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Knight’s support of basketball internationally has also helped to elevate the game globally, including its current sponsorship of USA Basketball. He’s also focused his efforts on supporting college athletics — including basketball — by providing resources to grow and maximize the collegiate game and the student-athlete experience through programs such as Duke, Georgetown, Syracuse and his alma mater Oregon. In 1993, he was named the Most Powerful Man in Sports by The Sporting News.
pretty good HOF class