The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2023 is stacked. It was announced Saturday morning that recent NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker are among the names who have been elected into the Hall of Fame. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has also been elected, as has WNBA legend Becky Hammon.
Here is the full list of names who will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame later in August:
- Dwyane Wade
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Pau Gasol
- Tony Parker
- Becky Hammon
- Gregg Popovich
- Jim Valvano
- 1976 Olympic women's basketball team
- David Hixon
- Gary Blair
- Gene Bess
- Gene Keady
Wade retired from the NBA in 2019 after a 16-year career that included three championships with the Miami Heat and 13 All-Star appearances. He's widely considered to be one of the top two guards, and most clutch players, of all time. In addition to his tenure with the Heat, Wade also spent time as a member of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nowitzki also retired from the league in 2019 after spending two decades with the Dallas Mavericks. He led the Mavs to their lone NBA title in 2011 and established himself as one of the best power forwards of all time in the process. He left the game as a 14-time All-Star, and the No. 6 scorer in NBA history. He also holds the record for most seasons played with a single team at 21. During his playing days he revolutionized the game by being a floor-spacing big man before that was in vogue.
Gasol last played in the NBA in 2019 after a career that spanned nearly two decades and included stops in Memphis, L.A., Chicago, San Antonio and Milwaukee. Gasol won two titles in L.A. alongside Kobe Bryant, and he recently had his number retired by the Lakers. He also made six All-Star teams and had a decorated international career, including two Olympic silver medals and one bronze medal with Spain. At his peak, he was one of the most consistently productive players in the NBA.
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Parker has experienced success both in the NBA and internationally. While in the NBA, Parker won four championships with the Spurs, where he spent 17 seasons as the starting point guard. He was also a six-time All-Star, and was named Finals MVP during San Antonio's 2007 title run. While playing for France internationally, Parker helped lead his country to its first EuroBasket title in 2013, where he was named MVP for the tournament while also being the top scorer. His No. 9 jersey was retired by the Spurs in 2019 where he holds the franchise record for most assists.
Hammon, who currently serves as the head coach of the reigning WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, is a highly decorated basketball player spanning all the way back to her college days. She was a three-time All-American at Colorado State, and despite going undrafted in the WNBA, managed to carve out a 16-year career. During her WNBA career, Hammon was a 6-time All-Star, and led the league in assists in 2007. She's been named to the WNBA 15th, 20th and 25th Anniversary teams, and her No. 25 jersey is retired by the San Antonio Stars where she spent eight years of her career.
Popovich is the NBA's all-time winningest coach, and he has been running things in San Antonio since 1995. He's led the Spurs to five championships and he also has a gold medal after serving as the head coach for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He's also been named Coach of the Year three times in the NBA.
The 1976 Olympic women's basketball team is being honored as the team won silver medals in the inaugural year of the Olympics including women's basketball in its sports slate. Luisa Harris, who was a center for Team USA, scored the first basket ever for women's Olympic basketball, and helped lead them to a silver medal. Other members of that team included Nancy Lieberman, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a player in 1996.
Valvano's coaching career spans across several teams, but the most memorable moment came when he led an underdog North Carolina State team to a national championship in 1983. He was ACC Coach of the Year in 1989, and his speech after winning the Arther Ashe Courage Award in 1993, which came seven months after being diagnosed with cancer, became legendary.
Bess is the winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,300 wins as the coach of Three Rivers Community College from 1971-2020. During his expansive tenure, Bess coached his team to two national championships.
Hixon spent 42 years coaching Amherst College, where he collected 826 wins, won two Division III national titles, and was named Division III Coach of the Year two times. He helped build Amherst into a powerhouse basketball program, and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Blair spent 37 years coaching women's basketball, where he most notably led Texas A&M to a national championship in 2011, the first title in the program's history. He reached the Final Four two times, and he retired in 2022 with 852 wins.
Keady is a six-time NCAA coach of the Year, and spent 25 years coaching at Purdue University. During his tenure he led his teams to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
All of these individuals are very well-deserving of enshrinement, and the Hall-of-Fame will be improved with their inclusion.