Springfield, Massachusetts is the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In the game that, legendary, Dr. James Naismith created in 1891, which has evolved into a culture, an understanding, and a way to communicate across many nations, many will play, but only a select few will ever make it to be immortalized in this legendary hall. Recently, some new and well-deserved faces were inducted into the Hall for their many accomplishments in the game. While seven individuals were inducted, four will get recognition in this article.
Considered one of the five best centers in NBA history, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon made it into the Hall after his many years of basketball. This seven-foot dynamo came to us from the nation of Nigeria and made his living as a low-post presence that made many think twice about coming down the lane against him. He was the center of the only basketball fraternity in history, Phi Slama Jama, at the University of Houston Cougars along with the legendary, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. This high-flying university team ruled the courts and made nets and rims scream of slam dunks. Never winning a National Title before, North Carolina State accommodated that in 1983, and he won two NBA titles with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. His “Dream Shake” and his many awards including a MVP and an Olympic gold medal prove why he is deserving of the Hall of Fame.
One reason why Olajuwon never won a National Championship was inducted this year as well, the Jamaican superstar, Patrick Ewing. This legendary Georgetown Hoya and Dream Teamer never won a NBA title, which places him in a discussion as one of the greatest players to never win a Championship; but, that, nonetheless, does not take away from 11 All-Star appearances and two gold medals (Los Angeles,’84 and Barcelona,’92). With nearly 25,000 points and well over 11,000 rebounds, people can only hope that his son, Patrick Ewing, Jr., will be able to have a level of greatness similar to his father.
Now if comedian Chris Rock said that you would be a great person to be president because you have led more blacks to the Promised Land than anyone, then, of course, you would be a Hall of Famer, such as, Pat Riley. You would probably have never known that he won a NBA Championship as a player back in 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, but you would probably know of his five as a coach. Four rings in the 80’s with the “Showtime” Lakers that included Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy amongst others made magic every time on the court. Of course, you can not forget his modern ring in 2006 with the Miami Heat which featured Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal (by the way those two are good!). He may be retired, but he still is a man of great knowledge and style when it comes to the court.
Then there is a man whose voice is considered standard when it comes to announcing. This former coach of Rutgers University and the Detroit Pistons made the transition to the microphone in 1979 and hasn’t looked back since. He is the reason why I watch college basketball, Richard “Dick” Vitale. It’s awesome baby!!!!! Mr. Vitale may be viewed as a big Duke fan, but we can let him slide for that; he is recognized as the voice of college basketball and he loves the ACC, and hearing him announce at NC State games is an experience unlike none other. His lingo for the court is unlike any other, with almost 1,000 games underneath his belt. Vitale is returning from throat surgery for this upcoming season, and I will love hearing all of the “Babys!!!”, “Trifectas!!!”, and “Awesomes!!!” for many more years to come.
The year of 2008 shows to have a remarkable class of inductees, and just look at it like this, it can only get better. Look forward to the 2009 class as first-time nominees such as, David Robinson, John Stockton, and, finally, Michael Jordan are all considered locks for next year. Who will join them?