Entries in 1996 (6)

Tuesday
Jul072009

Kresimir Cosic

Enshrined 1996
Zagreb, Croatia
November 26, 1948 - May 25, 1995

Biography

A hero on and off the court in his native Croatia, the 6-foot-11 center Kresimir Cosic enrolled at Brigham Young University in 1970 after leading the former Yugoslavia to an Olympic Silver Medal in 1968. Equally effective playing near the basket and on the perimeter, Cosic was the first foreign player to earn All-America honors. After his outstanding college performance, Cosic returned to Croatia, where his career continued to catapult, playing in four Olympic Games (1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980), winning a gold medal in 1980. As a member of the former Yugoslavian National team, Cosic also participated in four World Championships and eight European Championships. Professionally he played with, and then coached Olimpia and Cibona, winning five Yugoslavian League titles. Cosic's decision to attend BYU was historic -- it paved the way for international basketball players to come to America to improve their basketball skills at the collegiate level.

Career Highlights

All-America at Brigham Young University, 1972-73
Led Yugoslavia to an Olympic Gold Medal, 1980
Led Yugoslavia to World Championship Gold Medals, 1970, 1978
Led Cibona to three European Club Championships

Tuesday
Jul072009

George Gervin

Enshrined 1996
Detroit, MI
Born: April 27, 1952

Biography

Smooth. Graceful. Creative. Unstoppable. George "Iceman" Gervin was one of basketball's most electrifying and scintillating players. With Gervin's passion, desire, and drive to succeed combined with his extraordinary athletic ability, it was no wonder that his knack for scoring was boundless. On April 9, 1978, Gervin won the closest individual scoring race in NBA history against fellow Hall of Famer David Thompson and established himself as one of the most prolific scorers of his era. In the final game of the season, Gervin scored 63 points to nip Thompson by just .06 points. One of only three players in NBA history to win four or more league scoring titles (1978, 1979, 1980, 1982), Gervin enraptured fans for fourteen ABA/NBA seasons with the Virginia Squires (1972-74), San Antonio Spurs (1974-85), and Chicago Bulls (1985-86).

Career Highlights

ABA/NBA All-Star, ABA:1974-76; NBA: 1977-85
All-NBA First-Team, 1978-82
NBA All-Star MVP, 1980
NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, 1996

Tuesday
Jul072009

Gail C. Goodrich

Enshrined 1996
Los Angeles, CA
Born: April 23, 1943

Biography

A tenacious and fiery competitor, Gail Goodrich used intelligent ball-handling skills and excellent court vision to lead two of the most successful teams in basketball history. The crafty, left-handed guard guided the 1963-64 UCLA Bruins to a 30-0 record, helped compile a 78-11 three-year record, and win the 1964 and 1965 national championships. In both of those championship seasons, Goodrich was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team and he finished as UCLA's all-time leading scorer (1,690 points). With the Lakers, Goodrich guided the 1971-72 team to a 69-13 record and the NBA title as well as an NBA record 33 consecutive wins while playing with fellow Hall of Famers Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. Although many believed Goodrich was too small for the college game and too frail for the pros, Goodrich, through perseverance and discipline, proved his doubters wrong.

Career Highlights

NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team, 1964, 1965
Helms Athletic Foundation Co-Player of the Year with Princeton's Bill Bradley, 1965
NBA All-Star, 1969, 1972-75
All-NBA First-Team, 1974

Tuesday
Jul072009

Nancy I. Lieberman

Enshrined 1996
Brooklyn, NY
Born: July 1, 1958

Biography

Playing hoops on the rough-and-tumble Harlem courts, Brooklyn-bred Nancy Lieberman learned to play a physical, aggressive style of basketball unlike other women of her time. As a 5-foot-10 point guard, Lieberman was taller than many of her opponents, and her ability to drive to the hoop, dish out assists, and grab hard-fought rebounds served her well during her stellar career. Lieberman led Old Dominion University to back-to-back AIAW National Championships in 1979 and 1980. She was twice named as the Wade Trophy winner - a basketball history first. As the nation's top female athlete during those two seasons, Lieberman was the two-time winner of the Broderick Cup. Lieberman played professionally in the Women's Professional Basketball League, Women's American Basketball Association, United States Basketball League, Women's National Basketball Association and with the Washington Generals. Earning WBL MVP honors with the Dallas Diamonds in 1981, she led the team to the 1984 WABA Championship.

Career Highlights

All-America at Old Dominion, 1978, 1979, 1980
Olympic Silver Medal, 1976
Pan American Gold Medal, 1975
Became first female player in history to play in a men's league with the USBL Springfield Fame, 1986

Tuesday
Jul072009

David O. Thompson

Enshrined 1996
Boiling Springs, NC
Born: July 13, 1953

Biography

With lightning moves, an explosive 44-inch vertical leap and a precise shooting touch, David Thompson often left opposing defenders in his dust. According to rumor, while at North Carolina State University the awe-inspiring Thompson could grab a quarter off the top of a backboard. A three-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, he was also considered the conference's greatest player. Thompson began his pro career as the ABA's Rookie of the Year in 1976. Thompson starred for nine ABA/NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics. His prolific scoring record was highlighted by the 73 points he tallied in the final game of the 1978 season in the closest scoring title race in NBA history.

Career Highlights

NCAA Championship at North Carolina State, 1974
Associated Press National Player of the Year, 1974, 1975
Only player in history named MVP of both the ABA (1976) and NBA (1977, 1979) All-Star Games
All-NBA First-Team, 1977, 1978

Tuesday
Jul072009

George H. Yardley

Enshrined 1996
Hollywood, CA
November 3, 1928 - August 12, 2004

Biography

Teammates and counterparts described the flamboyant George Yardley as a "scoring machine," and a player who needed constant defensive attention. Called "Yardbird" at Stanford by his fraternity brothers, the name was later shortened to "Bird." The game's first real "bird" was a clutch playoff performer as well, averaging 20.3 ppg in 46 playoff games. Yardley's fruitful seven-year professional career saw him appear in six All-Star Games and average nearly 20 points per game (9,063 points, 19.2 ppg). The 6-foot-5 springy-legged, jump-shooting forward played for Fort Wayne, Detroit, and Syracuse. His Fort Wayne teams twice reached the NBA Finals, losing in the 1955 Finals to Syracuse in seven games. Yardley's most significant accomplishment, however, occurred in the 1957-58 season, when he became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points in one season (2,001), breaking the 1,932-point record held by George Mikan.

Career Highlights

NBA All-Star, 1955-1960
Led the NBA in scoring in 1957-58 with an average of 27.8 points per game
All-NBA First-Team, 1958
AAU championship and MVP honors with the San Francisco Stewart Chevrolets, 1951