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Monday
Aug092010

The Class of 2010 will be Enshrined at Springfield's Symphony Hall on August 13, following a week of festivities

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The home of basketball is ready to welcome the largest collection of current and incoming Hall of Famers ever assembled at one time during a week-long celebration, from Aug. 7-14, that is being called a “Celebration of Basketball.”

This year’s class of inductees includes Dr. Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley, Sr., Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, along with two celebrated teams: the 1960 US Men’s Olympic team and the 1992 US Men’s Olympic team, known as the “Dream Team.” The Class of 2010 also includes three legendary players: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously.

The enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for 7PM (ET) on Friday, Aug. 13, at Springfield Symphony Hall and will be televised by NBA TV.

“We are very proud to introduce the historic Class of 2010, a diverse and distinguished group,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

 “It represents each facet of the game and does so in a spectacular way. The professional game, the amateur game, the high school game, the women’s game and the international game each have remarkable inductees. To have the two U.S. Olympic teams coming in and to have each member of both teams arriving in Springfield to celebrate the occasion is outstanding,” said Doleva.

Doleva said all living members of the two teams are scheduled to attend the Enshrinement, as including Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellamy – the Hall of Famers from the 1960 team, who will join the members of the famed ’92 Dream Team, including Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin, John Stockton, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and others.

More on this year’s class:

JERRY BUSS – Contributor, has owned the Los Angeles Lakers since 1979, building one of the most successful organizations in the history of professional sports. The Lakers have won 10 NBA championships and 17 Western Conference titles during his tenure.

CYNTHIA COOPER – Player, is a champion in every sense of the word. She led the University of Southern California to two NCAA titles. As a member of the Houston Comets, she won four WNBA Championships and was named WNBA Finals MVP time. Cooper won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1988 to go along with two FIBA Women’s World Championship Gold Medals.

ROBERT “Bob” HURLEY, Sr. – Coach, has since compiled over 900 wins at St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey while leading the team to 25 State Parochial Championships and three USA Today National Championships (1989, 1996, 2008). Hurley was twice named National Coach of the Year by USA Today (1989, 1996).

DENNIS JOHNSON – Player, who died on Feb. 22, 2007, was one of basketball’s toughest defenders, earning nine consecutive NBA All-Defensive team honors during his 14-year professional career. He was a major part of three NBA championship teams and won MVP honors at the 1979 Finals as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics. He finished his NBA career with the Boston Celtics (1983-90), winning NBA championship rings in 1984 and 1986.

GUS JOHNSON – Player, was a five-time NBA All-Star (1965, ‘68-71) and a two-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive team (1970 and ’71). Johnson helped lead the Baltimore Bullets to five playoff appearances in nine seasons, including the 1971 NBA Finals. He played 10 years in the NBA, scored 9,944 points (17.1 ppg) and grabbed 7,379 rebounds (12.7 rpg). Johnson also played for the Phoenix Suns (1972-73) and was a member of the 1973 ABA Champion Indiana Pacers. (Born: Dec. 13,1938; Died: April 29,1987) 

KARL MALONE – Player, was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (1997, ’99) and a 14-time NBA All-Star for the Utah Jazz. He was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996 and ranks second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 36,928 points. Malone was selected as an All-NBA first team forward from 1989-99 and was named to the league’s All-Defensive first team from 1997-99. He won two Olympic gold medals, competing as a member of the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team” and the 1996 USA Olympic champions. Malone played collegiately at Louisiana Tech from 1981-1985. He finished his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-04. 

MACIEL “UBIRATAN” PEREIRA – Player, was known as “The King” in his native Brazil. He earned a gold medal at the 1963 World Championship, a silver medal at the 1970 World Championship and a bronze medal at the 1964 Olympic Games. Closer to home, he won five South American Championships and 11 titles in the São Paulo League in Brazil. He played in three Olympic Games for Brazil and was inducted as a player to the FIBA Hall of Fame in September, 2009. He was awarded the FIBA “Order of Merit” honor. (Born: Jan.18,1944; Died: July 17, 2002). 

SCOTTIE PIPPEN – Player, was a seven-time NBA All-Star (1990, 1992-97) and a member of six NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls (1991-93, 1996-98). He was a three-time All-NBA first team honoree and was voted to the NBA All-Defensive first team from 1992-99, along with two stints on the All-Defensive second team. Pippen won two Olympic gold medals as he was a member of the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team” and returned to help lead the USA to gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  He won NBA All-Star MVP honors in 1994.  Pippen also played with the Houston Rockets (1998-99) and Portland Trail Blazers (1999-2003). He is a native of Hamburg, Arkansas and played collegiately at the University of Central Arkansas (1983-87). 

1960 USA OLYMPIC TEAM – Team, compiled an 8-0 record at the Rome Olympic Games and won its games by an average margin of 42.4 points. Ten players went on to play in the NBA and six team members have been enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, including coaches Pete Newell and Dutch Lonborg.  The Hall of Fame players from the ’60 team are Walt Bellamy, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. Lucas and Robertson led the team in scoring with 17.0 ppg as the team averaged 101.9 ppg while holding its opponents to 59.5 ppg, a 42.4 point margin of victory. The 1960 team was inducted into the USA Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984.

1992 USA OLYMPIC TEAM known as “The Dream Team” – Team, compiled an 8-0 record at the Barcelona Olympic Games with an average margin of victory of 43.8. Coached by a Hall of Famer, the late Chuck Daly, the “Dream Team” was the first team made up primarily of NBA players, eligible to compete in international basketball for the first time because of the change of FIBA rules in 1989. Eight players from the team have been enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and two more (Malone and Pippen) are in the Class of 2010. The prior inductees include Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, and John Stockton. Hall of Fame coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Lenny Wilkens assisted Daly, while Chris Mullin, a 2010 Hall of Fame finalist, and college standout Christian Laettner of Duke University completed the roster.  The ’92 Dream team was inducted into the USA Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009. 

This year, the annual Enshrinement has expanded from a two-day event to a full-week of activities created for local area fans and visitors of all ages travelling to Springfield from across the country.

Linking the entire week’s activities and the Enshrinement together is the installation of a permanent monument in Mason Square that permanently marks the site of the first basketball game. The major project to recognize Mason Square’s unique place in basketball history has broad and enthusiastic support throughout Springfield from the neighborhoods, the city, and the Basketball Hall of Fame. The monument – two brass statues, one seven-feet in height, of a player from 1891 passing a basketball to a youth of today from Mason Square – symbolically marks the game’s beginning, its impact today, and the future impact of basketball on the world stage was unveiled on Sunday, August 8, 2010 at a special ceremony.

The "Celebration of Basketball" concludes with a special event dinner at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, CT on Saturday, August 14th.  That is a ticketed event.