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Chris Mullin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, and the former Golden State Warriors' star was sure to remember his New York roots during his speech. While Mullin spent a lot of time talking about his Warriors and Indiana Pacers' tenure, his most striking moments came when he talked about his roots.
Mullin grew up in Brooklyn, and was a New York City kid at heart. He thanked his youth coaches for helping give him the confidence and opportunities that may not have been afforded to kids in other places in the world. When it came time to decide where to go to college, Mullin said it was an "easy decision" to head to St. John's. Along with Mark Jackson, Mullin helped build the Red Storm into a power before being drafted by the Warriors. He stayed true to his roots by having his former St. John's coach, Lou Carnesecca, be his presenter.
Mullin's Hall of Fame speech was very typical of his grace and humility. His game was smooth, and so was his induction into the Hall of Fame. You can watch Mullin's full speech here.
We often hear athletes thank numerous people during Hall of Fame speeches, but it's not often we hear a speech like Dennis Rodman's. It's only fitting, though, considering the person and player, who was an enigma both on and off the court. And while Rodman did say thank you to quite a few people for helping his career and, more importantly, life, he also expressed sorrow and regret while apologizing for his personal failures.
Basketball kept Rodman out of trouble growing up, and no matter what happened on the court, he loved it. As he said during his speech, he could have his eyes gouged, his nose busted or his body flung to the ground and it didn't matter: he loved the pain of the game. His passion was for the game of basketball. He said he could have be dead, homeless or a drug dealer, but instead was able to play basketball. In the most chilling moment of the speech, Rodman said that his one regret was that he wasn't a better father, son or husband.
It was Rodman at his rawest and realist. Much like there was no filter for him during his playing days, there was no filter during this Hall of Fame speech. The difference is that the Rodman that spoke at the Hall of Fame ceremony was a reflective Rodman, unveiling his own personal demons even on a day where he was glorified. It wasn't your typical Hall of Fame speech, and that's exactly what made it so memorable.
Arvydas Sabonis was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, but instead of savoring his moment at the podium, he fired off a quick speech and headed off on his merry way. By Ben Golliver's count, Sabonis rattled off his speech in less than a minute -- 48 seconds, to be exact -- while thanking everyone he could, including the Blazers medical team.
Here's a snippet of his speech, the rest of which can be found here.
Special thanks I would like to say to Portland Trail Blazers and Blazers medical team for believing in me and helping me after serious injury and I got to come back to professional basketball. To be Olympic champion and to tonight here together with Bill Walton and all of you, thank you very much."
I'm sure there's a Greg Oden joke in here somewhere, but we'll pass. This is Sabonis' day, after all. And he did have good reason to thank the Blazers training staff: by the time he signed with Portland and joined the NBA, his body was already worn down from years of playing. And while he was nowhere near the picture of health with the Blazers, the team was able to nurse him back to health and keep him upright.
If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane and see some amazing old footage of him being goofy, head over to Golliver's post right here.
Tom "Satch" Sanders' Hall of Fame induction is well deserved. Not only was he a member of eight NBA championship teams with the Boston Celtics, Satch did quite a bit to further the NBA's other initiatives following his playing career.
Sanders will inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor by the Veteran's Committee, though it's quite possible that his contributions as a defensive stopper on eight NBA title teams from 1961 to 1969 probably played a role in that as well.
Sanders averaged 9.6 points and 6.3 rebounds before retiring in 1973 after playing all 13 of his NBA seasons with the Celtics. His eight championships trail only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones for the most all-time in the NBA.
Following Sanders' playing career, he'd be named head coach at Harvard as well as a short stint with the Celtics before taking on a bigger role in the NBA offices. Sanders is credited with developing the Rookie Transition Program and was a founder of the player programs for the NBA, essentially NBA Cares these days, as he did what he could to help the NBA's image as well as the paths for those following in his footsteps as a player.
Herb Magee will be the name least familiar to fans when he joins nine others in the 2011 induction class at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. Magee's claim to fame is a sparkling coaching career at Philadelphia University, a Divison-II school. Magee has 44 years under his belt as head coach at Philadelphia, and owns the NCAA record for most wins as head coach (922).
Magee has just one Division-II national championship to his name, but has finished with a losing record just twice in 44 years, no small feat. He's won about every collegiate coaching and Philadelphia sports honor there is; the induction to the Naismith Hall is just the latest triumph.
Magee's particular skill is shooting; he holds clinics and training programs on fixing players' jumpshots. In a New York Times story published in 2010, a former Magee assistant claims to have seen Magee hit 274 consecutive jumpers at one point.
Tara VanDerveer has done an impressive job of putting the Stanford women's basketball team on the map since arriving at the school in 1985. VanDerveer's induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame goes to show just how well she's done in that regard as the coach is still actively pacing the Cardinal sidelines.
VanDerveer's basketball experience began as a standout guard for Indiana , but just three years after leaving the college of the Hoosiers, her coaching career began when she was named head coach of the Idaho Vandals in the summer of 1978. VanDerveer's been standing out ever since.
In a career that's spanned 23 seasons and four teams -- the Vandals, Ohio State, Stanford and the 1996 Olympics entry for Team USA -- VanDerveer has won two NCAA championships, an Olympic gold medal and is a ten-time winner of the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award. VanDerveer is also one of just six NCAA Women's coaches to win at least 800 games over the course of her career.
Teresa Edwards might not be the most well-known member of the 2011 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, but the women's basketball star certainly deserved the honor. Edwards owns 14 total gold medals from various international competitions while competing with Team USA, though the most impressive came while competing at the Olympics.
Edwards is currently in her first season as head coach of the WNBA's Tulsa Shock after retiring from the league in 2005, but her basketball success spans a career much longer than the WNBA's existence.
Edwards played her college basketball at the University of Georgia, becoming a two-time All-American during his stint as a Bulldog in the mid-80s, before going on to play professionally in Europe prior to a two-year stint with the Minnesota Lynx beginning in 2003.
Though Edwards' professional career was seemingly outstanding, her time representing Team USA seems to be more impressive. Edwards helped the United States win gold medals in the 1984, 1988, 1996 and 200 Olympics as well as earning a Bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics to increase her total medal count to five.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is the most recent honor Edwards has received, but the basketball star is no stranger to Hall of Fames as the Springfield ceremony will be the seventh time she's earned such an honor. Previously, she was inducted into the University of Georgia's Circle of Honor, the State of Georgia's Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Grady County (Ga.) Sports Hall of Game, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame last year.
Tex Winter will finally enter the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, in an honor many feel is long overdue. The 89-year old is one of the most famous assistant coaches in NBA history, having been the brains behind the triangle offense that Phil Jackson used to help win 11 titles with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. One could argue that Winter had more impact on a championship team than most head coaches would.
Winter was an accomplished coach in his own right before coming to the Bulls. After graduating college in 1947, he coached at Marquette, Kansas State and Washington for two decades. His most successful stint was with Kansas State, where he led the Wildcats to eight league titles and two FInal Four appearances. He was famous for his offensive system that allowed his undermanned teams to compete with the very best. In 1962, he wrote a book on that offense called The Triple-Post Offense, which caught the eye of the Chicago Bulls many years later.
Winter moved on to a less-than successful stint as the Houston Rockets' head coach in the 70s. Then, in 1985, Bulls GM Jerry Krause, one of the biggest backers of Winter, made Winter his first hire after taking over. Winter eventually became Jackson's right-hand man, and Jackson was so impressed by his offensive system that he made it his duty to make it Chicago's way of playing. Michael Jordan resisted, but Winter and Jackson never backed down. Eventually, Jordan relented, and six championships followed. Jackson also took Winter to Los Angeles, where he was an assistant during the team's three straight titles from 2000 to 2002. Recently, due to his declining health, Winter has become a consultant, albeit a very valuable one as the Lakers won two more championships.
The irony of Winter is that he was beloved by both Krause and Jackson, even though Krause and Jackson grew to loathe each other. In a way, that's the story of Winter's career. He was always a basketball purist, unwilling and unable to play the political game that coaches often need to play. That may have hampered his Hall of Fame candidacy in the past, seeing as the Hall is a very political process. Now, though, he will finally get his due as one of the most influential basketball minds this game has ever seen.
Dennis Rodman is in the Basketball Hall of Fame so it seems as good of time as ever to look back at his career in video form.
Chris Mullin will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, following 16 years in the NBA -- most of that with the Golden State Warriors -- and a heralded four-year stay at St. John's in his native New York City.
Mullin, who entered the NBA in 1985, was one of the early great shooters in the league. The NBA adopted the three-pointer in 1980; through Mullin's career, the league at larger gradually began to see the value of the shot and attempts increased. By 1993, Mullin had become one of the most effective and frequent three-point shooters in the league, something that buoyed his all-around game.
A fantastically versatile player, Mullin was a regular high on the free throws leaderboard too, proving a true double-threat: he could pull up for a jumper or get all the way to the rim. He finished in the league's top-10 in scoring four times with the Warriors, and broke the increasingly exclusive 25-point barrier in five seasons. (Despite his great reputation as a scorer, he never scored 50 or more in a game.)
He also spent three seasons with the Indiana Pacers, which included his only career NBA Finals trip in the 1999-00 campaign. Partnering with Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway, Billy Owens and Sarunas Marciulionis, Mullin did make the playoffs a number of times in Golden State; toward the end of his Warriors career, Chris Cohan purchased the team and the franchise fell off the rails.
Mullin spent a few post-retirement years working in Golden State's front office, but had a tremendous falling out with management as he was essentially pushed out. As new management (and ownership) has largely taken over the franchise, that seems to have thawed. Mullin has long been considered a potential general manager for the New York Knicks; Mullin is a Brooklyn native, and grew up a big fan of the Earl Monroe-Walt Frazier Knicks.
Reece "Goose" Tatum will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, joining fellow Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon and Marques Haynes. Tatum was famously known as the original "clown prince" of basketball (Lemon later was bestowed the honor), and pioneered some of the greatest hot dog moves fans associate with the Globetrotters and, in general, streetball.
In an op-ed for the New York Times published last week, NBA legend Oscar Robertson revealed that he had nominated Tatum for enshrinement this year.
Tatum created Globetrotters basketball as we know it today. From 1942 to 1954, except for two years of military service, he was the most popular player on the most popular team in the history of basketball. He was an unparalleled ambassador for the sport, performing for presidents, popes, kings and millions of fans all over the world. Even as they were denied equal rights at home, he and his teammates helped defuse cold-war tensions with a State Department tour of the Soviet Union.
Tatum passed away in 1967, and will be represented in Springfield by his family. Robertson nominated Tatum through the African-American Pioneers Committee, created by Hall director Jerry Colangelo. Tatum will be the first inductee to go through that committee.
Dennis Rodman's basketball career was probably the most memorable of anyone that had just one season in which he averaged double digits in the scoring column. The flamboyant one's induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fames proves that stats aren't everything, though.
Rodman was able to put together a 14-year career, including 12 great ones split between the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls, before cameos with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks at the tail end of his time in the NBA.
Considering that the Worm was an undersized power forward who played his college basketball at Southeastern Oklahoma State, the feats he accomplished in the NBA were quite impressive.
Rodman won five NBA championships -- three with the Bulls during their second threepeat and two with the Detroit Pistons before he'd started dying his hair -- while leading the league in rebounding seven seasons in a row and picking up a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards to go with his All-Star game invites early in his career. In reality, he probably deserved even more accolades during his career, but the Hall of Fame induction at least validates how valuable he was.
Possibly more importantly, however, he was famous for being able to get into the head of the opposing team's best player as he had memorable on-court spats with Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal and quite a few others that would eventually concentrate more on what Rodman was doing rather than leading their team to victory.
Off the court, Rodman was as eccentric as anyone who's ever played the game as he'd wear dresses, date Madonna and Carmen Electra and wrestle in the WCW whilst staying as dominant as one who rarely scores can be when it came time to play basketball.
There wasn't a player like him before, and probably won't be ever again, which makes the Worm a worthy Hall of Fame inductee.
Most of Artis Gilmore's contemporaries who will be in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That it took Gilmore so long to join them has long been a mark against the secretive, bizarre Hall for years; the institution finally made things right and voted to induct the 7-foot mammoth in the 2011 class. He'll make it official on Friday night at the official induction ceremony.
Gilmore suffered the curse of the ABA. The first five seasons of Gilmore's pro career came in the ABA instead of the NBA; he spent that time with the Kentucky Colonels, winning the league's MVP, playoffs MVP and Rookie of the Year award in 1972. He made the All-Star team in every season he played in the ABA, and was rivaled only by Julius Erving in terms of all-time ABA dominance.
When the league's merged, Gilmore went to the Chicago Bulls as the No. 1 pick in the dispersal draft and, between his tenure there and with the San Antonio Spurs, he picked up six more All-Star berths. He finished top-10 in NBA MVP voting three times, but could never surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Bill Walton or, during a brief overlap of careers, Elvin Hayes as the league's most dominant center. Had he entered the NBA in 1971 after leading Jacksonville University to the NCAA national championship game, the story might have been different.
Regardless, Gilmore belonged in the Hall all along, and even if it's overdue it's an honor well-deserved. To read more about Gilmore's journey, I highly recommend Steve Aschburner's profile from last spring.
Arvydas Sabonis played just seven seasons in the NBA, spending that time with the Portland Trail Blazers. Like Yao Ming, who came later and lasted a bit longer, Sabonis remains beloved by stateside fans as much for his eccentricities as his talent (which was considerable in its own right). A lumbering Lithuanian with thick wristbands and knee braces the size of Muggsy Bogues, Sabonis showed rare savvy and finesse in the post to go with his massive 7-3 frame.
But what got Sabonis in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where on Friday he'll be officially inducted as a part of a 10-person class, was his international dominance. Sabonis spent the first 15 years of his pro career in Europe, playing for BC Zalgris in his native Kaunas, Lithuania, and later Spanish clubs CB Valladolid and Real Madrid. In these years he was named Europe's Player of the Year eight times.
Even that club success was overshadowed by Sabonis' mammoth impact on international competition at the Olympics and in continental championship. Most famously, Sabonis led the final Soviet team in Olympic history to the gold medal in 1988, beating the last amateur American team (starring David Robinson, Mitch Richmond and Danny Manning) in the semifinals and knocking off a stacked Yugoslavia team (led by Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac) for first place. That Soviet team was one of the best in international history, and Sabonis was clearly the best player on it.
After the U.S.S.R. broke up, Sabonis continued in international play, pushing Lithuania to huge success (and popularity). Lithuania became the second-biggest story in basketball at the 1992 Barcelona Game (after the Dream Team) being winning bronze; the nation repeated the feat in Atlanta in 1996. (In between, Lithuania took silver at EuroBasket 1995.)
Sabonis' talent, Lithuania's heart-bursting story of post-Cold War revival and an odd partnership with the Grateful Dead spurred the team's popularity, and eventually helped Sabonis transition to the NBA. (The Dead sponsored Lithuania in 1992, with the team wearing tie-dyed jerseys to the Olympics. It was a raging success, and they renewed the sponsorship in 1996. The band also raised money for Lithuanian charities in the process.)
Unfortunately for Blazers fans, Sabonis was 31 years old and clearly on the back-end of his career when he finally arrived in the NBA. He had productive seasons and helped the Blazers to the playoffs in each of his seven seasons -- this included the flirtation with the NBA Finals in 2000 -- before returning to Europe to close out his career.
The 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame class, featuring Dennis Rodman and Chris Mullin, will be inducted Friday evening.
Dennis Rodman and Chris Mullins are two of the biggest names among the 10 being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.
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