This past weekend, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined multiple players, coaches, and contributors alongside countless greats. Notable inductees include Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, and Becky Hammon. This group of players and coaches helped define an era of basketball as well as inspired many of the players and coaches we see today.
A member of the legendary 2003 NBA draft class, Dwyane Wade is one of the most underrated guards of the last couple of decades. In his 16-year career, Wade won three championships as a member of the Miami Heat, was a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA, three-time All-Defense, and a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. Outside of the league, Wade has more to add to his impressive basketball resume. Wade would lead Marquette to the Final Four in 2003 while becoming a first-team All-American in the same year. Representing the United States, Wade would earn a bronze medal for his play in the 2004 Olympics and play a significant role in the Redeem Team’s 2008 gold medal win. Wade would spend most of his career in Miami, with short stops in Chicago and Cleveland. Retiring in 2019, Wade still leads Miami in multiple categories including games played, points, field goals, free throws, and assists.
Regarded as one of the best foreign big men in NBA history, Pau Gasol has a stacked resume stretching from the NBA to Spain to the Olympic stage. In his 18 seasons in the NBA, Gasol spent time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers (where he would win two championships), Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and a very small stint in Milwaukee. Gasol would be a six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA. Outside of the league, Gasol has won several awards including ACB Finals MVP, FIBA World Cup MVP, EuroBasket MVP, and both FIBA Europa and Mister Europa Player of the Year. Gasol also has 11 medals to his name including three Olympic Medals (two silver, one bronze), a gold World Cup medal, and seven EuroBasket medals (three gold, two silver, and two bronze). Even though he hasn’t played for the Grizzlies in over a decade, he remains top five in several categories including games played, minutes played, field goals, rebounds, and blocks.
Another big man referred to as one of the best foreign big men in NBA history, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best big man shooters as well. Dirk is one of the few players in the NBA to have spent their entire career with one team, spending his entire 21-year career with the Dallas Mavericks. In his career, Dirk would be a one-time champion and Finals MVP, one-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA, and a part of the 75th-anniversary team. Internationally, Dirk would be a FIBA World Cup MVP, FIBA EuroBasket MVP, Euroscar Player of the Year, FIBA Europe Men’s Player of the Year, and more. Dirk’s legacy and impact can be seen with numerous foreign players including Luka Doncic, Franz and Mo Wagner, Maxi Kleber, and more. Dirk leads the Mavs in most categories, including games played, points, free throws, and rebounds. Dirk’s name is also alongside many of the other greats, being top 10 all-time in several categories including games played, points, defensive rebounds, field goals, and free throws made.
The last key member of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Tony Parker joins Tim Duncan (’20) and Manu Ginobili (’22) in the hall. Parker would spend 17 of his 18 seasons in the league with the Spurs, being a pivotal part of four championships between 2003-2014, taking home a Finals MVP in 2007. He would spend his final season with the Charlotte Hornets. During his NBA career, Parker would be a six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA, averaging splits of 15.5 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 2.7 RPG. Internationally, Parker would be a FIBA EuroBasket MVP, and FIBA Europe Player of the Year, and would win several medals representing France in EuroBasket.
The Spurs Dynasty would not have existed if it was not for Head Coach Gregg Popovich. After six seasons as an Assistant Coach for the Spurs and Golden State Warriors, Gregg Popovich was named Head Coach of the Spurs, and the rest is history. Now entering his 29th year as Spurs Head Coach, Pop is the winningest coach in NBA history with over 1,300 wins. Pop has led the Spurs to 23 winning seasons, five championships in six NBA Finals appearances. Pop has also been a three-time Coach of the Year, as well as being named to the top 15 Greatest Coaches in NBA History list. Pop’s impact can be felt all throughout the NBA, NCAA, FIBA, and EuroLeague, with coaches, assistant coaches, and front office members all coming from his learning tree. Outside the NBA, Pop spent time as an assistant for the Air Force Falcons, Kansas Jayhawks, and Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. In the Olympic realm, Pop led the 2020 men’s team to a gold medal, as well as being an assistant for the 2004 team that won a bronze medal.
Becky Hammon is without a doubt one of the greatest women to step foot in the WNBA. Following four years at Colorado State, Hammon would go undrafted. She would eventually play 16 seasons in the WNBA, spending eight seasons as a member of the New York Liberty and the other eight with the San Antonio Silver Stars, with career averages of 13.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.5 RPG. She would be a six-time All-Star, four-time All-WNBA, and be named to the 15th, 20th, and 25th-anniversary teams. Internationally, she’s played in Spain and Russia, winning a Spanish League Championship and Queen’s Cup. As a coach, Hammon has seen much success in her coaching career thus far. After spending eight seasons as an Assistant Coach under Gregg Popovich and many rumors of becoming the NBA’s first female coach, Hammon would join the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA, leading them to a championship in her first season at the helm. She would also win coach of the year in the same year. She would also win several medals, representing both the United States and Russia, including a gold medal in the Jones Cup in 1998 and a bronze with Russia in the 2008 Olympics.
A Quick Look at 2024 Hall of Fame Eligibility
With the 2023 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame passing by, many are looking to next year and some of the players that will be eligible. Notable non-first-ballot players include:
- Amar’e Stoudemire (2003-2016)
- Chauncy Billups (1998-2014)
- Shawn Kemp (1990-2033)
- Shawn Marion (2000-2015)
Notable first-ballot players eligible for the 2024 Basketball Hall of Fame include Joakim Noah (2008-2020), Vince Carter (1999-2020), Jamal Crawford (2001-2020), and Tyson Chandler (2002-2020). Although his NBA career was shorter than others eligible for the 2024 HOF class,
Joakim Noah had an impressive NBA career that included a Defensive Player of the Year award, two All-Star appearances, an All-NBA appearance, and several All-Defensive Team appearances. In college, he would be a part of back-to-back NCAA Basketball championships with the Florida Gators.
For Vince Carter, he has played the most season in the NBA (at the time of this writing) with 22 seasons. During his career, VC had many career highlights including All-NBA and All-Star appearances, a gold medal in the Olympics, and winning the most memorable slam dunk contest in 2000.
Playing for nine teams over his 20-year career, Jamal Crawford will most be remembered as one of the best sixth men in NBA history, winning the award three times between 2010 and 2016.
Lastly, Tyson Chandler played with eight teams over his 19-year career, winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Chandler would also have an All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive team appearance to add to his resume. Outside the NBA, Chandler has a 2012 Olympic gold medal to his name, as well as several FIBA gold medals.
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