Entries in 2012 (12)

Wednesday
Aug292012

Donald Barksdale

Enshrined 2012
Oakland, CA
3/31/1923 - 3/8/1993

Biography

Donald Argee Barksdale learned the game of basketball in the parks and recreation centers that dotted the neighborhoods of Oakland, California during the days of his youth. He never played a minute of high school basketball at Berkeley High due to rules that limited the number of black players to one on varsity teams. The social barriers and racial quotas that threatened to derail his career from the very beginning failed to dampen the spirit of optimism in Barksdale. In 1947 he became the first African-American to be named to the Helms Foundation All-America team after helping the UCLA Bruins to the Pacific Coast Conference championship. The following year Barksdale represented the United States in basketball at the London Olympics, becoming the first African-American to make the U.S. Olympic team and the first to win gold. His work in the Games opened more doors for black basketball players. He continued his amateur career with the AAU Oakland Bittners until 1951 when Barksdale went pro, signing a contract with the Baltimore Bullets. Two years later, he broke the color line again when he was named to the 1953 NBA All Star team.

Career Highlights

Helms Foundation First Team All-America, 1947
Four-time AAU All-America, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951
NBA All Star, 1953
Olympic Gold Medal, 1948

Wednesday
Aug292012

Jamaal Wilkes

Enshrined 2012
Berkeley, CA
Born: May 2, 1953

Biography

Smooth as Silk. There really was no better description of his game, his demeanor, his style. Jamaal Wilkes represented California basketball from the moment he stepped onto the floor to the day he retired as one of the game’s all-time great champions. At UCLA, he was a key player on the program’s 88-game win streak under legendary coach John Wooden. The streak included two undefeated runs to NCAA national championships in 1972 and 1973. Wilkes gave real meaning to the term student-athlete leaving UCLA as a three-time Academic All-America and graduating with a degree in economics. Success followed him to his next stop in the Golden State earning Rookie of the Year honors with the hometown Warriors. That same year Wilkes also won the first of four NBA championships. Silk was then an anchor on the early Showtime Lakers teams that won three NBA titles, in 1980, 1982, and 1985. A three-time All Star, he was an effective outside shooter with an unorthodox delivery that simply worked.

Career Highlights

Three-time NBA All Star, 1976, 1981, 1983
NBA Rookie of the Year, 1975
Associated Press First Team All-America, 1974
Three-time Academic All-America, 1972, 1973, 1974

Wednesday
Aug292012

Chet Walker

Enshrined 2012
Benton Harbor, MI
Born: February 22, 1940

Biography

Chet “The Jet” Walker was a durable and reliable small forward for 13 seasons in the NBA. A product of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Walker earned a basketball scholarship to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where he broke records and earned All-America honors as a high-scoring offensive threat. Walker operated best in the open court where his power and speed helped him get to the basket. He excelled at drawing the foul and was automatic from the free throw line. During his career he appeared in over 1,000 contests never missing more than six games in any season. Walker was geared for winning, with teams he played for making the postseason every year he was in the league. The model of consistency, Walker averaged 18.2 points per game during the regular season and postseason for his career. In 1967, Walker teamed with Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham, and Hal Greer on the great Philadelphia 76ers team that won the NBA title. The seven-time NBA All Star never ran short of playing a stellar game, always consistent and committed.

Career Highlights

Seven-time NBA All Star, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974
NBA All-Rookie Team, 1963
Consensus First Team All-America, 1962
NBA Championship with the Philadelphia 76ers, 1967

Wednesday
Aug292012

Ralph Sampson

Enshrined 2012
Harrisonburg, VA
Born: July 7, 1960

Biography

Ralph Sampson dominated college basketball during his four years at the University of Virginia. The recruitment of Sampson reached a fever pitch during his final season at Harrisonburg High School where the two-time state champion gave college coaches a glimpse into the future of basketball. The first center to possess open-court versatility, Sampson’s speed, rebounding, and shooting ability helped redefine the post position in basketball. He dribbled the basketball, ran the floor, and jumped like no other player his size. Sampson led the Cavaliers to the 1980 NIT championship, the 1981 NCAA Final Four, and marquee wins over college adversaries Michael Jordan of North Carolina and Patrick Ewing of Georgetown. Drafted by the Houston Rockets, Sampson paid immediate dividends in the NBA, winning Rookie of the Year in 1984 playing in the first of three consecutive NBA All Star games. Sampson’s off-balance, last-second shot dethroned the Showtime Lakers in the 1986 Western Conference finals to send the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals.

Career Highlights

Naismith Award winner, 1981, 1982, 1983
Wooden Award winner, 1982, 1983
Consensus First Team All-America, 1981, 1982, 1983
Three-time NBA All Star, 1984, 1985, 1986

Wednesday
Aug292012

Mel Daniels

Enshrined 2012
Detroit, MI
Born: July 20, 1944

Biography

In the basketball-centric state of Indiana, Detroit native Mel Daniels gave Pacer fans and Hoosier natives reason to cheer for the hometown team. Daniels landed in the upstart American Basketball Association in 1967 after a standout career at the University of New Mexico where he was a Second Team All-America his senior year and averaged double figures in points and rebounds all three seasons. A six-foot-nine-inch post presence, Daniels was an agile scorer and ferocious rebounder filling up the stat sheets for eight ABA seasons. Three times in his first four seasons Daniels led the ABA in rebounding including a career high of 18 boards per game in 1970-71. He is the ABA’s all-time leading rebounder and ranks fourth in scoring, but his greatest contributions to Hoosier Hysteria are the three ABA championships he won with the Indiana Pacers. In two of the three title runs, Daniels was the postseason leader in total rebounds. The seven-time ABA All Star averaged a double-double for his career and was also named to the All-ABA First Team four times in a row starting in 1968.

Career Highlights

Seven-time ABA All Star, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
ABA Rookie of the Year, 1968
ABA Most Valuable Player, 1969, 1971
ABA Championships with the Indiana Pacers, 1970, 1972, 1973

Wednesday
Aug292012

Hank Nichols

Enshrined 2012
Niagara Falls, NY
Born: July 20, 1936

Biography

When Hank Nichols walked out onto the floor, coaches and players and even fans knew they were going to get a fair shake. One of the most respected referees in history, Nichols officiated six NCAA national championship games, ten Final Fours, and two Olympics including the 1984 bronze medal game in Los Angeles. The Niagara Falls native called two of college basketball’s most memorable games. The first – the 1975 national championship game between college basketball giants UCLA and the University of Kentucky – was the last game in the legendary career of Coach John Wooden. The second was the Bird-Magic showdown in the 1979 national title game, still the highest-rated college basketball broadcast in network history. The only official to work the NCAA and NIT championships in the same year, Nichols assumed the role of the NCAA’s first coordinator of officials in 1986 where he studied officiating and began to standardize game-calling across the country. Once called the John Wooden of officials, Nichols commanded respect and gave it back in return.

Career Highlights

Officiated six NCAA Division I national championship games
Officiate ten NCAA Final Fours
NCAA Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials
Secretary/Editor, NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee

Wednesday
Aug292012

Phil Knight

Enshrined 2012
Portland, OR
Born: February, 24 1938

Biography

One of the most influential and significant businessmen in the game of basketball, Phil Knight is the co-founder, former CEO, and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of NIKE, Inc. Knight built a company from the ground up that is widely credited with expanding the game of basketball around the world through its innovative products and influential marketing. His visionary leadership merged top-flight sports and popular culture by developing elite footwear, apparel, and equipment built on performance, innovation, and emotion. Nike was the first sports brand to incorporate top athletes to connect with consumers emotionally, landing the most significant sports personality of all time in Michael Jordan. The 1985 debut of the Air Jordan basketball sneaker changed the athletic footwear and apparel industry for good. Nike later signed Sheryl Swoopes as the first woman to have her own signature shoe, supported the game in places like China, and strengthened collegiate athletics by providing resources to grow, maximize, and enhance the student-athlete experience on campuses across the country.

Career Highlights

Named the Most Powerful Man in Sports by The Sporting News, 1993
Widely credited with expanding the game of basketball around the world
Named one of America’s top managers by Business Weekly, 1997
Recipient, University of Oregon Pioneer Award, 1982

Wednesday
Aug292012

Katrina McClain

Enshrined 2012
Charleston, SC
Born: September 19, 1965

Biography

Katrina McClain was a prolific rebounder and terrific scorer in a career that spanned three Olympic Games, three continents, and countless driveways, backyards, and arenas all over the world. Before she earned her stripes for USA Basketball, McClain starred at the University of Georgia where she was a two-time Kodak All-America and the WBCA National Player of the Year her senior season. She left Georgia as the school’s second all-time leading scorer and rebounder, averaging a double-double her final two seasons in Athens. The Lady Bulldogs reached the 1985 NCAA Final Four and national championship game with McClain controlling the paint and Teresa Edwards running the offense. The two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year finished her international career with two Olympic gold medals and one bronze, three FIBA World Championships medals, and five medals at the Goodwill Games, Pan Am Games, and World University Games. In all Katrina McClain appeared on eleven USA Basketball rosters becoming one of the most decorated athletes in USA Basketball history.

Career Highlights

WBCA National Player of the Year, 1987
Kodak All-America, 1986, 1987
Olympic Gold Medals, 1988, 1996
Gold Medals, World Championships, 1986, 1990

Wednesday
Aug292012

Don Nelson

Enshrined 2012
Muskegon, MI
Born: May 15, 1940

Biography

Don Nelson has spent a lifetime in basketball. Player, coach, general manger, and consultant, his more than forty years in the game were punctuated by excellence and innovation. Nelson is the only coach to record more than 1,000 wins and earn multiple championships as a player. Through his years of serving the basketball community he has been involved in more NBA games than any other individual in history. Nelson is the all-time winningest coach in the NBA with 1,335 victories. He was the innovator and greatest proponent of small-ball offense – now known in basketball circles as “Nellie Ball” – and he introduced the concept of the point-forward to basketball. Nelson invented matchup-situation offenses on the fly, giving opposing coaches headaches every night. Named to the NBA’s Ten Best Coaches of All Time list in 1996, Nelson was a three-time Coach of the Year honoree. He then coached the United States national team to a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championships.

Career Highlights

Three-time NBA Coach of the Year, 1983, 1985, 1992
Named one of the Ten Greatest Coaches in NBA History, 1996
Led teams to 18 appearances in the postseason
Led Milwaukee Bucks to seven consecutive division championships

Wednesday
Aug292012

Reggie Miller

Enshrined 2012
Riverside, CA
Born: August 24, 1965

Biography

His clutch shooting and never-say-die attitude made him one of the most feared shooters in basketball. His late-game heroics and inspired trash talking made him a wanted man in Madison Square Garden. Reggie Miller always seemed to find a way to one-up the Eastern Conference rival New York Knickerbockers when it mattered most. The sleek shooting guard dominated in the closing moments when “Miller Time” rained down on helpless defenders. Miller shined when the game was on the line. At UCLA, the California native led the Bruins to the 1985 NIT championship and the 1987 Pac-10 title. The first round draft pick of the Indiana Pacers played all 18 seasons of his professional career in the Hoosier State. Miller, a five-time NBA All Star, scored over 25,000 points in the league and at the time of his retirement held the NBA record for three-point field goals made in a career with 2,560. Miller won gold playing for the 1996 United States Olympic team and a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championships.

Career Highlights

Five-time NBA All-Star, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000
All-NBA Third Team, 1995, 1996, 1998
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, 2004
Associated Press Third Team All-America, 1987