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HOUSTON, TX – The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 12 inductees in the Class of 2023 to be celebrated during this year’s Enshrinement festivities on August 11-12. The Class Announcement was made in Houston, the site of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and was televised live on ESPN.
This year’s North American Committee inductees (in alphabetical order):
Gene Bess - All-time winningest college coach (1,300), 2-time NJCAA Coach of the Year
Pau Gasol - 6-time All-Star, 2-time NBA champion, 2002 Rookie of the Year
David Hixon - 826 wins, 2-time D3 national champion, 2-time D3 Coach of the Year
Gene Keady – 6-time NCAA Coach of the Year, 17 NCAA Tournament appearances
Dirk Nowitzki - 14-time All-Star, 2006-07 MVP, 2011 NBA Champion
Tony Parker - 6-time All-Star, 4-time NBA champion, 2007 Finals MVP
Gregg Popovich - Winningest coach in NBA history, 3-time NBA Coach of the Year, 5-time NBA champion
Dwyane Wade - 13-time All-Star, 3-time NBA champion, 2006 Finals MVP
This year’s Women’s Committee inductees (in alphabetical order):
Gary Blair - 852 wins, 2011 National Champion, 2-time Final Four participant
Becky Hammon - 6-time WNBA All-Star, 2-time First-Team All-WNBA recipient
This year’s Direct Elect Committee inductees (in alphabetical order):
1976 Women’s Olympic Basketball Team (Women’s Veterans) – Silver medalists in inaugural appearance for Women’s Olympic Basketball
Jim Valvano (Contributor) – 1983 NCAA Champion, created The V Foundation for Cancer Research
“The Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2023 is remarkable and truly embodies the breadth and impact of the global game today,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. “This Class represents the game at every level and showcases the incredible efforts of individuals who are not only household names in the game, but also those who teach, coach and counsel to men and women at the most organic levels of basketball. The ultimate achievement of a storied career is Enshrinement in the Naismith Hall, and this Class punctuates and defines what it means to be a Hall of Famer.”
The Class of 2023 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, the Birthplace of Basketball, as well as the Mohegan Sun on August 11-12. VIP packages and single-event tickets to the 2023 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend are now available at hoophall.com/events/enshrinement-2023.
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THE NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2023
North American Committee Inductees:
GENE BESS [Coach] – Bess coached at Three Rivers Community College in Popular Bluff, Mo., for 50 years, from 1971-2020. During his time at the helm of the Raiders’ program, Bess, who was named NJCAA National Coach of the Year twice, amassed 1,300 wins and is the all-time winningest college basketball coach across all levels. Bess coached his teams to 17 NJCAA Tournament appearances, including four finals (1979, ‘92, ‘94, 2010) and two championships (1979, ‘92). Before Three Rivers, Bess coached high school basketball for 12 years (1957-69), going 237-95. Bess has been inducted into the Poplar Bluff Sports Hall of Fame (1983), Missouri Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame (1988), NJCAA Fall of Fame (1989) and Missouri Sports Hall of Fame (2006).
PAU GASOL [Player] – The 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year, the first non-American to win the award, garnered six All-Star selections (2006, ’09-11, ’15-16) and four All-NBA team accolades during his 18-year NBA career. Gasol won back-to-back NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009-10 and was the fourth player in league history with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists and 1,500 blocks. The Barcelona, Spain, native boasted an equally distinguished international career, winning three Olympic medals (silver in 2008, ’12 and bronze in 2016) and, in 2017, became EuroBasket’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing fellow finalist Tony Parker. Gasol also led the Spanish national team to a FIBA World Championship title in 2006, where he was named the competition’s Most Valuable Player, and a EuroBasket tournament crown in 2009 and ’11. He was the highest-scoring player in in the 2004 Olympics and was Spain’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games. Gasol had his No. 16 retired by the Lakers on March 7.
DAVID HIXON [Coach] – Before retiring in 2020, Hixon was at the helm of the Amherst College basketball program for 42 years (1977-2020). During his career, Hixon amassed 826 wins and became the third coach in men’s college basketball history to surpass the 800-win mark in 2018. He was awarded National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division III Coach of the Year twice (2007, ‘13). Hixon coached his teams to 20 NCAA Division III national tournaments, including seven Final Four appearances (2004, ‘06-08, ‘13-14, ‘16) and two championships (2007, ‘13). Under Hixon’s leadership, the Mammoths played in 18 New England Small College Athletic Conference championships (2001-19) and won eight titles (2001-02, ‘05-06, ‘12-14, ‘19).
GENE KEADY [Coach] – Keady spent 27 seasons as the head coach of the Western Kentucky University (1978-80) and Purdue University (1980-2005) men’s basketball programs. Keady, one of the most respected coaches in college basketball history, garnered 550 career NCAA wins and was named National Coach of the Year six times (1984, ‘88, ‘94-96, 2000). He is the winningest coach in Purdue’s history (512), won six Big Ten titles (1984, ‘87-88, ‘95-96) and a record seven Big Ten Coach of the Year awards (1984, ‘88, ‘90, ‘94-96, 2000). Under Keady’s leadership, Purdue made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances in 24 years. He was also inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, where he served as president from 2000-01. Among the notable coaches that served under Keady’s direction were Bruce Weber, Kevin Stallings, Steve Lavin, Cuonzo Martin and Matt Painter, current Boilermaker head coach. Keady was a Hall of Fame finalist in 2004 and ‘06.
DIRK NOWITZKI [Player] – Nowitzki is a 14-time NBA All-Star (2002-12, ’14-15, ’19) and won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award during the 2006-07 campaign, the first European-born player to take home the honor. Nowitzki, who ranks sixth all-time in NBA scoring, led the Dallas Mavericks to their first-ever NBA championship in 2011 and was named Finals MVP. The Würzburg, West Germany native, played his entire 21-year career with Dallas, a record for most seasons with a single team, and was named to the All-NBA Team on 12 occasions and received first-team accolades four times (2005-07, ’09). He is the Mavericks’ all-time statistical leader in nearly all categories, including points, rebounds, blocks, field goals, three-point field goals and free throws. Nowitzki retired in 2019 as the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history, and is the only player with at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals, 1,200 blocks and 1,500 three-point field goals. Prior to joining the NBA, Nowitzki played 5 seasons with DJK Würzburg, and helped the German National Team to a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championships. He was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, and the following year, became the first German men’s basketball player to have his number (14) retired.
TONY PARKER [Player] – Parker is a four-time NBA champion (2003, ’05, ’07, ’14), six-time NBA All-Star (2006-07, ’09, ’12-14) and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2007 NBA Finals. He was named to an All-NBA team four times, including three consecutive second-team honors (2012-14). Parker, who was recognized on the 2002 NBA All-Rookie First Team, ranks sixth on the NBA’s all-time playoff list in assists and 10th in scoring. He played 17 of his 18 NBA seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and is the franchise leader in assists. Born in Belgium and raised in France, Parker was a fixture on the French national team and was MVP of EuroBasket 2013. In 2015, he became the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket competition, a record that fellow finalist Paul Gasol broke two years later. Parker was inducted into the Legion of Honor in 2007, the highest French order or merit, and his No. 9 was retired by the San Antonio Spurs in 2019. Parker is the majority owner and president of ASVEL Basket, a French professional basketball team.
GREGG POPOVICH [Coach] – Popovich has been the head coach for the San Antonio Spurs for 27 seasons (1996-present) and became the winningest coach in NBA history in March 2022. He is one of five coaches in NBA history with at least five or more championships (1999, 2003, ‘05, ‘07, ‘14). Over the course of his career, Popovich has led the Spurs to 284 playoff victories and six NBA Finals appearances (1999, 2003, ‘05, ‘07, ‘13-14). During his tenure with the Spurs, Popovich coached Hall of Famers David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili, along with Class of 2023 finalist Tony Parker. Popovich has won NBA Coach of the Year three times (2003, ‘12, ‘14), and his 67 wins in 2016 are tied for the seventh most all-time in a single season. In addition to his NBA coaching career, “Pop” has served as head or assistant coach for six USA Basketball national teams, including winning a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics.
DWYANE WADE [Player] – Wade is a 13-time NBA All-Star (2005-16, ’19), eight-time All-NBA team member, including a pair of first-team accolades (2009-10), and the 2006 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Over the course of his 16-year NBA career, he also won three NBA championships (2006, ’12-13), earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors on three occasions (2005, ’09-10), led the league in scoring with 30.2 points per game in 2009, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2004. He is the Miami Heat’s all-time leader in numerous categories, including points, assists, steals, field goals and games played. On the international stage, Wade earned 2 Olympic medals, highlighted by taking home the gold in the 2008 Games in Beijing as the leading scorer on the “Redeem Team.” The Chicago native played collegiately at Marquette University and led the Golden Eagles to a Final Four berth in 2003, highlighted a triple-double (29 pts./11 reb./11 asst.) during the Midwest Regional final against top-seeded Kentucky. Wade, who was recognized as a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, had his No. 3 retired by Marquette (2007) and the Heat (2020).
Women’s Committee Inductees:
GARY BLAIR [Coach] – Winner of the 2011 NCAA National Championship with Texas A&M University, Blair went 852-348 (.710) in 37 seasons as head coach at Stephen F. Austin University (1985-93), the University of Arkansas (1993-03) and Texas A&M (2003-22). His 852 victories ranked 12th all-time at the time of his retirement. Blair’s teams earned 23 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a pair of Final Fours (1998 with Arkansas and 2011 with Texas A&M), becoming the third Division I women’s basketball coach to lead two different teams to the Final Four. The veteran Marine, who posted only two losing seasons, was a two-time Women’s Basketball New Service Coach of the Year winner and was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year honors twice (2003, ’07). Blair has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack Hall of Fame (2008), Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2012), Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2013) and the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame (2022).
BECKY HAMMON [Player] – Hammon is a six-time WNBA All-Star (2003, ’05-07, ’09, ’11) and earned First-Team All-WNBA honors twice (2007, ’09). She averaged 13.9 points and 3.8 assists per game over 16 seasons in the WNBA with the New York Liberty (1996-2006) and San Antonio Stars (2007-14) and was named to the league’s 15th (2011), 20th (2016) and 25th (2021) Anniversary Teams. The South Dakota native averaged a WNBA career-high 19.5 points in 2009, and on August 31, 2011, became the seventh player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points. During her collegiate career at Colorado State University, Hammon earned All-American honors three times and led the Rams to a Sweet 16 berth in 1999. From 2014-21, Hammon served as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, the first full-time female coach in any of the four major professional sports. Following her time with the Spurs, Hammon was named the Las Vegas Aces head coach on Dec. 31, 2021, and in her first season at the helm, led the Aces to a 26-10 record and the 2022 WNBA Finals Championship – the first rookie head coach to capture a WBNA title. Her No. 25 was retired by Colorado State in 2005 and the San Antonio/Las Vegas franchise in 2016. Hammon has been inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame, and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2022).
Direct Elect Committee Inductees:
1976 US WOMEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM [Women’s Veteran] – The 1976 US Women’s Olympic Team won the silver medal in the first-ever Summer Games that featured women’s basketball. The inaugural US Women’s Olympic Team, composed of talented college players, set the standard for future generations of American women’s basketball players, and inspired countless young girls to pursue their dreams on the court. Led by Hall of Famer Billie Moore (Class of 1999), assisted by Sue Gunter (2005), and headlined by Hall of Famers Lusia Harris-Stewart (1992), Ann Meyers Drysdale (1993), Nancy Lieberman (1996) and Pat (Head) Summitt (2000), the team helped change the trajectory of Women's basketball, as increased opportunities to play collegiately, professionally, and abroad became the norm.
JIM VALVANO [Contributor] – Valvano, a coach, player, and broadcaster, led North Carolina State Wolfpack to the 1983 NCAA Championship, upsetting the heavily favored Houston Cougars, and inspired the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Known famously as “Jimmy V,” Valvano went 346-210 in 18 seasons with Bucknell University (1972-75), Iona University (1975-80) and NC State (1980-90). Upon leaving NC State, Valvano began a career as a broadcaster for ESPN before being diagnosed with cancer in June 1992. Valvano spoke at the first ESPY Awards at Madison Square Garden and was presented the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. During his memorable speech, he announced the creation of the organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, whose motto would be "Don't Give Up...Don't Ever Give Up.” Until his death in 1993, Valvano was an outspoken advocate for cancer research and the V Foundation, which has funded over $150 million in cancer research grants nationwide. He was inducted into the Rutgers Basketball Hall of Fame, where he played collegiately, in 1993, and was named to the first NC State Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2012.
About the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving, and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches, and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum, and events, visit hoophall.com, follow @hoophall #23HoopClass or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.